The clue is in the title: Country For Old Men is John Scofield’s take on country music. He may have tackled pieces of the genre before, but this is his first album dedicated to country.
Whilst he may be paying homage to some of his influences, he is by no means in thrall to them. Some of the tunes he takes pretty straight – such as the opener, George Jones’ Mr Fool – others are country through a jazz prism, and the jazz wins through. Jazz has long appropriated other genres’ material and made them its own. Most jazz standards were old show tunes; Coltrane took My Favourite Things and recast it to his needs. Hearing Scofield do the same for country is both enjoyable and illuminating. The result can be slightly disconcerting, though not unpleasantly. With Steve Swallow on bass, Larry Goldings (organ and piano) and his regular drummer Bill Stewart.