1980's Bar Talk features a young John Scofield already showing the virtuosity on guitar that subsequently made him a giant in his field. Scofield -- who honed his chops with artists like Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Chet Baker, and Charles Mingus -- displays his talents here as both a player and composer. Scofield is joined in the venture by Steve Swallow on bass and Adam Nussbaum on drums -- a perfectly balanced trio. The Connecticut-born Scofield, who studied jazz at the renowned Berklee School of Music in Boston, spent much of his professional life gigging in Europe. This recording was made by the trio during one of its European tours. The album was well received at the time of its printing in 1980. Its influence has grown, becoming a jazz guitar classic, often listed as a favorite recording by professional critics, other musicians, and fans alike. Most of the songs are penned by Scofield himself. Steve Swallow contributed one tune, the elegiac "Never." The songs are long enough to allow the music to develop, with each musician taking his turn in the jazz conversation. "Fat Woman," "New Strings Attached," and "How to Marry a Millionaire" give the listener a good sampling of the capabilities of these musicians as they morph through a range of moods and colors. The set ends with "Nature Calls," a nod to the double-entendre titles for which Scofield is known. The musician likes to joke around and have fun, but make no mistake, John Scofield is serious about his music.
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AllMusic Review by Rose of Sharon Witmer