scott fields

Scott Fields, musician

This That

Guitarist Scott Fields grew up in the Hyde Park area of Chicago’s Southside, the very turf that birthed the AACM, and his Ensemble—a floating collective that over the years has included such luminaries as cornetist Rob Mazurek, percussionist Michael Zerang and guitarist Jeff Parker—is named in tribute to The Art Ensemble Of Chicago. This That is a heavy trio session, pairing Fields with cellist Peggy Lee and drummer Dylan Van Der Schyff, and it’s even better than Mamet, his extraordinary tribute to the plays of David Mamet that surfaced earlier this year. Whereas that was a subtle, conversational work, This That finds Fields tossing off manic proto-Metal flurries that land somewhere between the early motorpsycho extremities of guitarist Makoto Kawabata’s work with Musica Transonic and the heavy melodic strong work of free jazz guitarist Tisziji Muñoz. Cello and drums provide a skewered counterpoint, pirouetting around the margins as Fields channels straight through the heart. — The Wire


Despite the potentially clunky concept — the compositions inspired by the plays of David Mamet — Chicagoan guitarist Scott Fields, here flanked by bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Michael Zerang, confounds expectations with a really listenable and inventive approach to group explorations. His score alternates bursts of Mamet dialogue with sections of directed improvisation. The group intone their lines like actors, mumbling phrases and snapping back in argument. Mamet’s writing is very aware of rhythms in speech patterns — most evident in the cyclical despair of American Buffalo. Fittingly enough, that play fuels one of the trio’s most swinging takes, moving into protorock territory that at points sounds like TNT-period Tortoise. The Woodsstarts quietly, subtly droning and chattering with a section “meant to evoke dusk near a pond in a Midwest forest with its crickets and loons and raccoons and wind rustling through the trees….” Tension builds and spills into violence, the group slamming straight into a wall of dead feedback, while a despairing undercurrent breaks and submerges the players. —  The Wire