John Scofield

Liquid Fire: The Best of John Scofield

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In a neatly symmetrical fashion, Gramavision chose two tracks from each of Scofield's half-dozen albums for the label, sequenced them chronologically, cross-faded or ran many of them together, and ended up with an exciting hourlong summary of his mid-'80s output (would that more best-of albums be assembled with such consistency). After the jagged electric jazz-rock of the first two albums, Electric Outlet and Still Warm, "Make Me" and "The Nag" from Blue Matter inject a funk element into the Scofield bag, which becomes even nastier on "Wabash" (from Loud Jazz) before resolving into the potently jazzier direction of Flat Out ("The Boss's Car" is a gas). Amidst all of the electric bluster and energy, there is a dignified, quietly bluesy Scofield solo take on "Georgia on My Mind" (from Pick Hits Live) at the dead center of the CD. With several backing groups to sample, and the leader's signature sound always apparent, Liquid Fire is a good way to discover what Scofield can do.

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