INSIDE SCOFIELD is kind of like a jazz performance.
There’s a kind of wandering vibe to the film. Sure, you get to watch a lot of what happens behind the scenes of a touring band. And it is what you might expect… taxi rides, train rides, flights, hotel rooms, soundchecks, eating, coffee… and the stuff in between all that.
Coming into this film, I had no real expectations. I just knew that it looked like a beautiful tribute to one of my favorite jazz guitar players.
As I watched the film, my feelings went through this kind of boat ride (not rollercoaster ride, but boat ride). Some parts of it were interesting because it put in context what happened to Scofield at different parts of his career.
His work with Miles Davis, his time at Berklee, his relationship with New York City… in some ways, New York City itself is as much a character in this film as John is.
Seeing John in different situations – interacting with his band members, friends, family, other musicians… is all very interesting… but the film itself had an angular arc to it.
Some documentaries focus on a chronological way of exploring a person’s life. Some celebrate a part of their life, a certain period. With INSIDE SCOFIELD, it’s a mix of Scofield’s thoughts, experiences and a little bit of the whole lockdown era captured as well.
There were many funny moments in the film, mostly with what Scofield says… and there are also touching moments (Steve Swallow and John Scofield having a video call is priceless).
All in all, I felt that the film reflects John Scofield and his aesthetic. The film itself is kind of like a jazz performance. If you wanted facts and stories in abundance, there’s more of that in other interviews, but if you want the feeling of what it’s like to be John Scofield, the experience of living the life of being a touring musician for so many years – this is probably one of the most artistic expression of it. Watch it as an art piece and then it might be even more enjoyable.
I mentioned earlier I had no real expectations when I started watching the film. I was wrong. I expected a documentary, but what I got was a visual art piece – a tribute to John Scofield. From that angle, Jörg Steineck succeeds.
Pros: Beautifully shot and presented, this film is a great art piece celebrating John Scofield’s creative spirit.
Cons: The documentary is less filled with facts and stories, so if you’re looking for a info dense documentary, this is not it.
TLDR: If you’re curious about the life of a touring jazz musician or if you’re a fan of John Scofield, I recommend checking out this film.
You can get the DVD and/or watch/download the stream here: https://scofield.joerg-steineck.com/
IMPORTANT: I do recommend getting the VIMEO streaming/download version (even if you get the DVD) as it comes with bonus footage of interview with 17 musicians who talk about John.
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