This Meets That is as guitarist John Scofield describes, “real jazz music,” and he’s not exaggerating. With so many albums being tagged with some variation of the jazz label (acid, free, smooth), it is refreshing to hear an album that recalls the classic jazz greats: Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and Chet Baker.
This Meets That was recorded with what Scofield refers to as his A-team, drummer Bill Stewart and bassist Steve Shallow (with the help of a four-piece horn section). He draws inspiration for the album from the time he spent playing with bassist Phil Lesh, saying, “Phil is so interested in the aesthetic of on the spot inspiration…he is willing to let his music go all kinds of places. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become like that too.”
In addition Scofield mixes in a wide-range of musical elements – sounds not normally associated with jazz – and spiced things up with a smattering of styles that include the country flavored “Behind Closed Doors, the folk-standard “House of the Rising Son” and a cover of the Rolling Stones “Satisfaction” with a sit-in by legendary guitarist Bill Frisell. With these diverse elements and inspiration, Scofield crafts a timeless sounding album of pure jazz, forgoing many of the harsh beats and avant-garde turns of much modern jazz, and instead focusing on a deep swinging groove. This does not mean that This Meets That comes off as stale or outdated, it instead is a modern take on a classic sound, yet without sacrificing any of Scofield’s inventive guitar heroics.