The veteran avant-garde musician (and onetime Madisonian) plays a solo show. Info/tix
In his decades of work, Scott Fields has enriched the tradition of avant-garde jazz with his unlikely collaborative efforts and unconventional compositional methods. It was in Chicago's Hyde Park that Fields was first exposed to avant-garde music in the '70s and where he began to learn multiple instruments (though he's chiefly known as a guitarist), and in Madison where he began to play and perform again in 1989 after an extended break from music. Now based in Cologne, Germany, the 64-year-old composer visits his former home for a solo show.
In the span of his career post-hiatus, Fields has released more than 30 records, with collaborators ranging from therobo player David Rath to Tortoise's Jeff Parker, and in settings ranging from quartets to large ensembles. But his 2015 album Burning In Water, Drowning In Flame is Fields' only real solo-guitar effort—just himself and his acoustic, steel-string flat top guitar. Much of the unease and unsteadiness that verges into near-cacophony on his other projects is still present here, but inevitably more stripped-down. Across nine tracks, divided into two suites, Fields delicately arranges music based around Charles Bukowski's collection of poems, The Pleasures Of The Damned (although album draws its title from a different Bukowski collection). The gem of the record is "Woman On The Street," a track steeped in forlorn sadness. Whereas Fields' disjointed style feels like a choice on the album's other songs, here it feels inevitable. — Henry Solo