If "That's What I Say", perhaps you should say less --
Your Pet Poodle | Twin Cities, MN | 10/19/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"At the outset, it strains credulity to assert any artistic connection at all between Ray Charles and John Scofield. That's why this set really doesn't work all that well. Scofield and company use these Charles classics as blowing vehicles, whereas Ray used them as opportunities to make music.
There IS some good stuff here: "Busted" probably comes closest to nicking Ray in the soul department. "You Don't Know Me" is beautiful and compelling, although Aaron Neville's vibrato and superfluous melismas get a little tiresome. Scofield's solo rendition of "Georgia On My Mind" is very pretty and honest, but doesn't touch the solo bravura of, say, Tommy Emmanuel. Scofield's horn arrangements are solid and interesting. Larry Goldings NEVER missteps and proves, once again, that he is a consumate soloist and sideman. Steve Jordan and Willie Weeks lay down absoutely textbook grooves. And John Mayer weighs in proudly on "I Don't Need No Doctor", proving himself to be a versatile and durable young talent.
There is a pervasive weakness that mars the whole works, however, and that weakness is basically Scofield. His meandering "fishing expedition" solos often make one wonder whether he knows where he wants to go. The most egregious and obvious example of this is on the brief "Crying Time." Larry Goldings lays down a wonderful bed of nearly legit organ, and Scofield noodles over the top as though he's looking for something but having a hard time finding it. Scofield rarely 'speaks' in discernable phrases -- I know, that's his style. But it's not my cup of tea, and it doesn't make for a good 'fit' on Ray's stuff.
There are other low points -- Aaron Neville's first chorus on "What'd I Say" has all the fire-power of a cap gun. Laughable. And while Dr. John's singing is tolerable (an acquired taste at best), the PTB must not have had enough scratch to pay him for a piano solo. I dare say that Dr. John could do Ray justice. Finally, the treatment of "Night Time is the Right Time" (the very talented Warren Haynes singing) is downright bland. John Fogerty and CCR absolutely SLAMMED that tune in '69, for crying out loud.
I bought this CD on the basis of "Busted", which IS a 5 star tune. That which follows is a very mixed bag, often having little to do with Ray.
The Genius of Ray Charles continues
escandon | nuevo mexico | 11/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I heard the beginning of "What I say" in my car on the way to work. I thought, "Hey Hey! How cool the Neville Brothers and Dr. John are doing some Ray Charles." Then I heard the guitar solo at the end and I luckily pulled into the office lot before wrecking.
"Who did the Nevilles hire to sound like flipping John Scofield?!?! Brilliant!!!"
When the dj declared it was from the new John Scofield album, I was glad that I had already parked because it absolutely flipped my lid. A whole disc of this stuff!! Yeah!!
This disc is a wonderful wonderful disc in every way. Joyful, soulfull. Cool! Even when we are through being cool, ha.
Jazz blues soul RnB, whatever. This is the fresh living sound of the great song and music that Ray Charles has gifted us with.
And Thank you John Scofield and Co for continuing to play these tunes with style, love, and spirit."
Not his best outing.
Sprinkla' | Fayettville, AK | 05/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a big JS fan. I pick up all of his albums and go to see him when I can. With the exception of a few tracks, I think that this album is disappointing. The problem is that the band really is playing the music of Ray Charles, but Scofield is playing Scofield. Alone, these are great grooves. Together, it sounds like the band and guitar parts were recorded separately. Furthermore, I don't know about these vocalists. Except for Dr. John, it all sounds like pop. It's good pop, but it doesn't fit with JS. I would recommend the album, but only after "A Go Go", "Bump", and "Works For Me.""
Pablo Schlesinger | Bogota COLOMBIA | 07/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a big JS fan, as a musician he is an incredible composer and also a great guitar player,The CD brings you an incredible horn arrangements, Larry Goldings a superb organ player and a very nice mix of artist from the pop, rhythm blues and gospel areas, also incredible solos from JS. I heard him twice live in Boston at Berklee College of Music when I was student , for all the tributes honoring the music of Ray Charles this is the best so far, don't miss this one"