Scott Fields

Mamet

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Arguably the Anthony Braxton of the guitar, Scott Fields is among avant-garde jazz's unsung innovators. The guitarist, now based in Madison, WI, was part of the Chicago avant-garde jazz scene during the '60s and '70s and, much like Larry Young brought modal post-bop to the organ, Fields' guitar playing was influenced by the pioneering work of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). An improviser as important as Fields should have a huge catalog but, regrettably, the electric guitarist has only recorded sporadically over the years. Recorded in 2000 and released in 2001, Mamet finds him putting his spin on the works of playwright David Mamet. Although there are no words or lyrics, Fields was thinking of Mamet's plays when he composed instrumentals like "Oleanna," "The Woods," and "American Buffalo." But one doesn't have to be an expert on Mamet's work to appreciate this excellent release. And, for that matter, being a lover of Mamet's plays doesn't guarantee that you will love Fields' Mamet CD (which employs Michael Formanek on acoustic bass and Michael Zerang on drums). Ultimately, the thing that will determine whether or not you find Mamet meaningful is how much you appreciate and comprehend outside improvisation. If you're an admirer of fearless AACM explorers like Anthony Braxton, Lester Bowie, and Roscoe Mitchell, you owe it to yourself to hear Mamet -- a CD that is enthusiastically recommended to anyone with a taste for AACM-style avant-garde jazz.

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