Scary Goldings: Live! Featuring John Scofield

Relapsing groove addicts Goldings on organ and Scofield on guitar reunite to play a greasy funk set with the Scary Pockets rhythm section


Each one innovative in their adventurous jazz field during slightly different periods of the preceding century, both organist Larry Goldings and guitarist John Scofield have never shied away from groove and grease. They bonded over their soul-jazz proclivities on Scofield’s Hand Jive and Groove Elation as early as the mid-1990s. Decades later, Scofield joins Goldings in his association with the jazz funkateers of Scary Pockets, whose weekly series of funk versions of famous tunes on YouTube went viral. For this occasion, the band is renamed Scary Goldings. Scofield was featured on Scary Goldings IV in 2021 and again is present on their latest effort Live! Featuring John Scofield

Inherently, soul-jazz is a throwback to bygone eras, a legit approach provided that the leading actors bring their own personality to the play. The passions of Scary Pockets founders Ryan Lerman and Jack Conte make sure that Goldings and Scofield succeed in their styling of (let’s say) Hand Jive 2.0, linking funk and disco beats to the slick fusion of Quincy Jones from the 1970s. This album of performances in Paris and Los Angeles sounds so pristine and Scary Goldings, including rising star bassist MonoNeon, is such a tight-knit unit of flawless and exceptional musicians that it almost makes you wonder whether it actually was recorded live.

That’s impressive, though there really is only one tune among these tracks that genuinely lights my fire. Professor Vicarious finds Scofield on a lurid New Orleans funk kick and Goldings battling with psychedelic bleeps against the broken beats of drummer Ted Poor. Overall, Goldings works magic with his Hammond organ, finding the right type of sound for each song and building concise stories. And no-one quite works towards a climax like Scofield, who swallows Disco Pills like a smooth operator that turns into a guy that cries and moans over his unfaithful mistress.

I for one would’ve liked to hear more where this came from, preferring moonshine whisky over mojito. But Live! Featuring John Scofield is a top-notch record for those who like their funk-jazz sparkling and smooth.

We Come In Peace; The Shakes; *Professor Vicarious; Disco Pills; Take My Jet; Louis Cole Sucks; The Shiner; Day Old Socks; Scary Poppins (40.28)
Larry Goldings (org); Scofield (g); Ryan Lerman (kyb); Jack Conte (g); MonoNeon (b); Ted Poor, Lemar Carter, Louis Cole (d). Jazz À La Villette, Paris & *Echoplex, Los Angeles (where Will Lee replaces MonoNeon on bass), 2022.
Pockets Inc