scott fields

Scott Fields, musician

Fugu

Guitarist Scott Fields is a Chicagoan by way of Madison, Wisconsin, who now resides in Cologne, Germany. He had a “countercultural” adolescence and started out playing blues in bars while still underage before falling under the spell of the Windy City’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. (“A Poem for Joseph,” which opens his album Fugu, is dedicated to Art Ensemble of Chicago saxophonist Joseph Jarman, with whom Fields has performed.) He put down his guitar when he was 21 and picked it up again 15 years later, earning a journalism degree in the meantime, although you wouldn’t know it from his infuriatingly convoluted liner notes. Fugu is a reissue of a 1995 date first released on his own short-lived Geode label. The pieces were written to accompany dancers but their tricky, irregular meters proved unsuitable for that purpose. The music’s subtly stunning on its own terms, though, performed by an unit of mainly classical players whose fiery interpretations of Fields’ compositions belie their academic backgrounds. Cellist Matt Turner and vibist Robert Stright particularly shine. — Stash Dauber


Five Frozen Eggs

5 Frozen Eggs is a reissue of a 1996 recording by guitarist Scott Fields that was originally released on the Music and Arts label. On it, he’s joined by longtime Anthony Braxton pianist Marilyn Crispell, his fellow Chicagoan Hamid Drake on drums, and bassist Hans Sturm. Fields’ compositions are introspective and impressionistic, with episodes that sound improvised but are in fact through-composed. Guitar-wise, he usually occupies some of the same sonic space as John McLaughlin did circa Extrapolation (before discovering Sri Chinmoy and distortion), his tone astringent, his ideas abundant. On “Little Soldiers for Science,” Fields dirties the sound up a bit, his lines juxtaposing crazy intervallic leaps and glisses with hammers and clusters of notes. The other musicians swirl around him like a sorcerer’s spell. — Stash Dauber