John Scofield's
Uberjam at the SOPAC:

Ultra Jazzy Jam Band Returns for Round Two in New Jersey
A Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

John Scofield's Uberjam brought their unique style of music to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) in New Jersey on September 21, 2013. The SOPAC is a welcoming venue with fine acoustics and served as an ideal setting for the innovative Uberjam show.

John Scofield Brings the Uberjam to South Orange
John Scofield's Uberjam take over the SOPAC stage in South Orange, New Jersey.

John and his band are touring in support of the album Uberjam Deux one of John's many projects. Guitarist John Scofield has been making his mark in the jam and jazz scenes for decades. Scofield aka "Sco" is a band leader with a large body of work that traverses many musical terrains. He has played with an assortment of artists including Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Government Mule and Phil Lesh. John is also an adjunct professor at New York University. Scofield tours approximately 200 days a year and in 2013 his itinerary included a stop at the SOPAC.

On this occasion John was leading the Uberjam. This band's music is a blend of bass, drums, guitars and samples to craft compositions that are funky, jazzy, rocking and more. Scofield's set drew heavily from Uperjam Deux along with tracks from the original Uberjam (2002) record.

They opened with "Snake Dance" a dynamic piece that slithered from stark to spirited progressions with some samples added to the dance mix. "Cracked Ice" also from Uperjam Deux melded cool funky grooves with fine fret work and thick bass lines. John is not a flashy guitar player but he is uber fluid.

"Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" was a wizardly brew of jam and jazz allowing band members to showcase short solos. Their sound was crisp and clean so that each instrument stood out yet the Uberjam was tight as a team also. "Jungle Fiction" from Uberjam started off with samples before the band blended into the mix adding an array of elements to the exploratory piece.

"Sounds like an Al Green tune," said John referring to the next number. He further explained that they could not find the original source but attributed the influence from the soul singer to their new composed piece. "Al Green Song" had an easy elegance to it with all the changes transitioning smoothly. "Brake 4 Monster Booty" was loaded with bold riffs and rhythms.

After a short break the band return with more lavish and layered instrumental pieces. The second set featured additional new songs including the beguiling "Boogie Stupid" and the colorful "Curtis Knew" that was dedicated to Curtis Mayfield.

"Endless Summer" was expansive and expressive ranging from sunny to slightly sad. An appropriate song on Saturday night as it was the last day of summer. For the encore John Scofields's Uberjam performed "I Don't Need No Doctor" in honor of Ray Charles. Their tribute was daring and moved in many directions before drawing the song and show to a close.

"If I were to tag a concept for the band, it would be exploring different forms of groove music. We get into funk, afro beat, reggae, house music, R&B ... and a lot of what's in between," shares John. "I love improvising over and inside this music, and doing it with some of the greatest musicians playing this way today." In our opinion, Scofield's own words best summed up the Uberjam experience.

The SOPAC is a state of the art performance hall ideal for artists like John Scofield. It is an intimate theater that is in the heart of the downtown where there are restaurants, shops and a movie theater. Upcoming shows at the SOPAC include Southside Johnny & The Poor Fools, Alejandro Escovedo with Shelby Lynne and John Mayall.

John Scofield's Uberjam Band: John Scofield - guitar; Andy Hess - bass; Avi Bortnick - guitar & samples; Tony Mason - drums

John Scofield Brings the Uberjam to South Orange
John Scofield and his team unleashed a two-hour plus Uberjam on New Jersey in 2013.

Related Links: For more information on JOHN SCOFIELD and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - John Scofield | SOPAC

(Originally Published on September 24, 2013)




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