REVIEW: John Scofield and the Pablo Held Trio at Birdland in Neuburg

L-R: Pablo Held, Robert Landfermann, John Scofield, Jonas Burgwinkel
Photo credit: Ralf Dombrowski

John Scofield and thePablo Held Trio
Birdland, Neuburg Germany, 8th May 2015. Review and photos by Ralf Dombrowski)


Birdland in Neuburg is a tiny but long-established club. It has a maximum capacity of 100 people, but a legacy of hosting gigs which goes back decades, and they manage – somehow - to persuade international stars again and again to come on down to their little basement.

In this case it was John Scofield with the Pablo Held Trio, (Held, Robert Landfermann and Jonas Burgwinkel. This, the penultimate concert of their tour together, was quite fabulous. On the the one hand, this was angular and abstract music, and yet in a surprising way, it developed organically and took on real heft and scale as it did so.

There were several originals and a few standards too, but the tunes were merely the starting point for extensive, far-reaching improvisations.

John Scofield. Photo credit Ralf Dombrowski

Sco is sounding once again as he did in the eighties on those Enja small-band albums. His thought processes are condensed, he pares things down to the essentials of the blues in which he has his foundations, and has moved a long way from the rather inconsequential groove-based stuff he has done with other bands.

Jonas Burgwinkel, John Scofield,Photo credit: Ralf Dombrowski


The Pablo Held Trio just goes from strength to strength. The players have absorbed the whole range of modern idioms and deploy them with a focused expressive power and authority. Their perfection and precision, the intuive way they interact are stunning. This was the big picture, held within the confines of a small frame.

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