Getting to Know Sco: Master Jazz Guitarist John Scofield talks to Patch

The maestro’s artistry and versatility has kept him at the top of his game

He travels two hundred days a year but always comes home to Katonah. 

John Scofield - jazz guitarist, composer, bandleader and recording artist has produced over thirty albums and continues to tour worldwide.

The legendary musician who moves easily from jazz to rock, blues, fusion, soul and improvisation continues to make his mark as one of the best of his generation.

He began playing guitar at age 11, having moved from Ohio to suburban Connecticut and thus began his steady ascent to the top of the jazz world.  He has lived in Katonah for the past 16 years.

Scofield's work has included collaborations with Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell and Phil Lesh among others, as well as a three-year stint in the 1980's with jazz superstar Miles Davis.

We sat down at Katonah Restaurant with "Sco" and talked over breakfast about his brilliant career and his favorite things about life here in Katonah.

Patch: What does it mean to you to be a jazz musician?

Scofield:  I feel so lucky to have had opportunities to play and learn from my idols. Charles Mingus, Chet Baker, Jerry Mulligan, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis to name just a few. Jazz is something that is passed on to other people by playing and performing with them. It's an organic experience. I'm nothing without music - it is my hobby, my occupation.

Otherwise, I love to spend time with my family. I also love to read and hang out with friends.

Patch: What is your idea of a perfect day here in the Katonah area?

Scofield: Well, I would walk my two dogs and stroll through the village. It is really idyllic. Maybe I'd play some music in a basement studio around here. Then, my wife and I might get takeout dinner from Blue Dolphin or go out to eat at Café Luc in Ridgefield. And you know, the pizza at Peppino's is really good. To see live music, there is a terrific place called the Town Crier Café in Pawling, NY.

Patch: What are you working on now?

Scofield: This summer, I am involved once again with Shades of Jazz, a music series at the Katonah Museum of Art that is just a wonderful summer night out. On August 11, a very talented saxophonist, John Ellis, will perform and I will jam with him and his band to conclude the concert. Drinks are available at the museum and picnic dinners can be ordered from William Nicholas. It is really great.

And besides touring, I'm working on a record of ballads that will come out next year.

Patch: What do you think about the state of music in our schools?

Scofield:  It is really important for kids to be exposed to music and the arts in school. John Jay has a very good music department. My wife Susan is one of the founders of Arts Alive, the arts booster club at the high school. It helps to bring more arts like music, dance and poetry to the kids. We've got to expose students to the arts - otherwise it's a Nintendo world.

Patch: And we have our very own guitar shop here in town.

Scofield: I was thrilled to see that the BlueBus Music opened. I have bought a few things there and it is great that aspiring musicians have it right here.

Patch: A question for the guitar buffs out there: what do you play?

Scofield: Okay, I will shamelessly plug it: The Ibanez John Scofield.

Patch: A guitar named after you? Very, very cool.







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