The music of 54 defies, in its own way, some of the laws of nature in music. It is born out of pieces initially created and designed for smaller ensembles. Yet when placed with the large scaled collective talents of 54 individuals, the result, though expansive, loses none of the pureness of the original material. Drama is heightened. Beauty is clarified, passions aroused without losing the fresh and personal expression that Jazz is known for - so rare that an orchestra can offer that stylistic expression in the jazz genre. Scofield's compositional foundation, visualized and crafted by Vince Mendoza, executed by the Orchestra and reinterpreted by Scofield takes these charts to a grand destination.
The collaboration heard on 54 had its origins back in the 90's when Vince Mendoza asked John Scofield to play on his first album. John has since been featured on two of Vince's records and his guitar sound and improvisational skills work well within Vince's concept. When Mendoza assumed directorship of The Metropole Orchestra, he and Scofield decided to collaborate again with a primary focus on Mendoza's arrangements of Scofield compositions as performed with The Metropole Orchestra. "Vince is one of the most creative arrangers today and his sensibilities are perfect for my compositions, " says Scofield. "in addition to Vince's arrangements, 54 features another pair of Scofield tunes transformed by likeminded arrangers Jim McNeely and Florian Ross. Two classic Mendoza compositions are included to complete the repertoire. "I love playing in this lush setting. This orchestra is unique to any other I know of in its ability to play with a natural jazz feeling," says Scofield. "It's a thrill to hear my tunes expanded by the orchestral arrangements and Vince's tunes are modern masterpieces that I truly enjoy interpreting. The other soloists in the Orchestra are excellent as well."
The Metropole Orchestra is the world's largest professional pop and jazz orchestra. Renowned for its wide-ranging abilities, the Metropole Orchestra performs everything from chansons to World music, film scores, rock and pop tunes as well as high-octane jazz. The orchestra is a regular feature at the North Sea Jazz festival and the yearly Holland Festival along with countless TV and radio programs broadcast to millions. The ever-growing Dutch film and television industry relies heavily on the Metropole Orchestra for its film scores. Since 2005 the Metropole is under the baton of Chief Conductor Vince Mendoza.
The Metropole Orchestra with Mendoza has shared the stage with a broad sampling of the performers who underscore the ensemble's flexibility to cover a wide range of genres. Guests have included Oleta Adams, Vicente Amigo, Andrea Bocelli, Joe Cocker, Elvis Costello, Eddie Daniels, Brian Eno, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Astrud Gilberto, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Hank Jones, Chaka Khan, Pat Metheny, Ivan Lins, Mike Patton, Paquito D'Rivera, John Scofield, The Swingle Singers, Jean 'Toots' Thielemans, Gino Vannelli, Steve Vai, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Dino Saluzzi, Turkish singer Sezen Aksu and Fado-queen Mariza.
A principal innovator of modern jazz guitar, John Scofield has expressed himself in the vernacular of bebop, blues, jazz-funk, organ jazz, acoustic chamber jazz, electronically tinged groove music and orchestral ensembles with ease and enthusiasm. Regardless of the stylistic setting, his distinct guitar sound and compositions are unmistakably Scofieldesque, always coupled with an improvisational excellence and dedicated to the finest in jazz tradition. It is a rare artist that can explore more than one kind of music with true fluency, virtuosity and sincerity but Scofield can, and he's proven it once again within 54.
After touring and recording with Miles Davis from 1982 to 1985, Scofield placed himself firmly in the foreground of jazz consciousness as a player and composer. He prominently leads his own groups in the international Jazz scene and has recorded 36 albums as a leader, many already classics. His history of collaborations with jazz legends such as Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Joe Henderson, Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, and Herbie Hancock are uniquely balanced by contemporary projects with Bill Frisell, Brad Mehldau, Mavis Staples, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Government Mule, and Phil Lesh. Scofield's compositions - in association with composer Mark-Anthony Turnage - have been the foundation of the orchestral piece Scorched. Those and others in increasing numbers and have been performed by some of the world's leading orchestras.
Vince Mendoza, the Music Director and Chief conductor of the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra, has been at the forefront of the Jazz and contemporary music scene as a composer and, conductor for the last 20 years. He has written scores of compositions and arrangements for big band, extended compositions for chamber and symphonic settings while his jazz composing credits read like a "who's who" of the best modern instrumentalists and singers in the world today. Mendoza has also written commissioned compositions and arrangements for the Turtle Island String Quartet, the Debussy Trio, the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the Metropole Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, West Deutsche Rundfunk and the BBC.
Mendoza's arranging has appeared on many critically acclaimed projects that include dozens of albums with song writing legends such as Bjˆrk, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin, Sting and Joni Mitchell. He has 5 Grammy awards and 22 nominations. He was the orchestral voice behind the score to Lars van Trier's "Dancer in the Dark" featuring Bjˆrk, as well as the orchestrations on her CD titled "Vespertine", and the orchestral CDs of Joni Mitchell, "Both Sides Now" and "Travelogue".