Scott Fields, electric guitar; Matthias Schubert, tenor saxophone; Scott Roller, cello; John Hollenbeck, percussion
Scott Fields' (b 1952) Samuel, the second album of compositions based on Beckett's plays, follows 2007's highly acclaimed Beckett. One could argue though that Fields's compositions are in fact closer to the original texts than most other Beckett-inspired musical works, for the simple reason that the Chicago-born guitarist and composer actually derives his music directly from them, not only by assigning precise pitches, chords, time values and rhythms to particular words and phrases in the text and transforming Beckett's wordplay into clearly delineated melodic lines and harmonic fields, but also by associating his meticulous stage and lighting directions with particular sounds and gestures. It's no coincidence that Scott Fields has so far chosen to work with Beckett's plays, rather than his prose or poetry, since a sense of character and identity--or loss thereof--is as central to his music as it is to Beckett's dramaturgy.
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"Although conceptual allusions to literature might suggest haughty pretension, Beckett is actually Fields' most varied and swinging record in years. Even at their most abstract, these are engaging compositions, bolstered by zealous group interaction, rich harmonic ingenuity and stunning dynamic range. Like the work of its dedicatee, one listen to this album won't do it justice." —All About Jazz
"When you think Beckett you don't automatically think of elegant and intricately crafted modern chamber jazz, but that's precisely what guitarist Scott Fields offers us here on this magnificent quartet outing [Beckett] with John Hollenbeck (percussion), Scott Roller (cello) and Matthias Schubert (tenor saxophone). The playing of all four musicians throughout is exemplary, the scores cunningly crafted and intriguing to the point of being frustrating (and if that isn't Beckettian I don't know what is) and the recording superb. What more could you ask for? A sequel, perhaps." —Paris Transatlantic Magazine