Monday, April 6, 2009
Live Review- JOHN SCOFIELD & THE PIETY STREET BAND
John Scofield and His Piety Street Band played to an almost full house last night at NYC's B.B. King's, and the performance was every bit as inspiring as the fantastic new record which was released this past week. (my review is HERE)
The band, New Orleans' keyboard player Jon Cleary, the legendary George Porter Jr. on bass and the criminally underrated Ricky Fataar on drums, along with Scofield, kept the revival mood consistent, with a repertoire that drew mostly from the new record's old time gospel selection.
Songs like "Motherless Child," "His Eye Is On The Sparrow," and "I'll Fly Away" while familiar by title and lyrics, bore little resemblance musically to the tunes we've been hearing for ages. The band's arrangements were almost swinging, yet the gospel groove, thanks to Mr. Porter, was never lost.
Everyone on stage seemed to be having fun with the opportunity to just play, especially Scofield, whose soloing on the record is kept to a minimum. One highlight was the Dorothy Love Coates' classic "99 1/2," where Jon Cleary was given the chance to show just why he has become a New Orleans' legend and a musician who people can comfortably compare to the great Professor Longhair. Another highlight was seeing Cleary pick up a guitar for the only secular tune of the evening, a very funky version of Ashford & Simpson's "I Don't Need No Doctor." I knew he could play, but I had forgotten.
I took some pics and video. Video is "Something's Got A Hold On Me," also from the solid new record. The tour is a short one, and at some point will no longer include George Porter Jr., so I suggest checking this great line-up out early, if they come to your town.