Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

Scott Fields Freetet – Bitter Love Songs (CF 102)

Everything in this CD – from the extremely sour liner notes, to the cruelly sneering track titles, to the leader’s “chip-on-a-shoulder” photo in the inlay card of my promo copy – reports of someone who is about to explode following a series of unlucky existential affairs. What better method to channel a potentially destructive fury into a handful of composition for guitar trio, and making them appear delivered from jazz stereotypes as well? That’s what happens in “Bitter love songs”, the latest news coming from Scott Fields, whose clean-but-not-too-much tone characterizes a fine brand of dissonant, almost irritating at times, angular tunes where he’s sustained by Sebastian Gramss on double bass and João Lobo on drums. Hammering down phrases that appear as acrid as one’s mood after a rollicking from the office’s chief, Fields sounds similar to a man obsessed, totally unmindful of the establishment of a harmonic permanence. Ostinato-based figurations and chords full of minor seconds and augmented fifths are served like hamburgers at McDonald’s, one after another in deadpan pessimism, until every honeymoon picture on the wall gets ripped off the frame. The calmer settings are tackled with a sort of extreme aloofness, all the more enhanced by a rhythm section that doesn’t want to know what “regularity of pace” means. The guitarist declares to have kept the words of these bitter songs to himself, but there’s no question that his music stings worse than a lawyer’s bill. If John Scofield (note the curious assonance) decided to go harmolodic, maybe he could ask here for a few lessons.

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