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Scott Fields

Guitarist, composer, improviser Scott Fields has been performing and recording around the globe over the last three decades. A native of Chicago, his earliest improvisations were influenced by the AACM. Fields has been pretty well obsessed with structures for improvisation for some time and has relied heavily on the serial harmonic system developed by composer Stephen Dembski.

Although as a leader he performs with a number of line-ups, he calls them all The Scott Fields Ensemble, largely in homage to the Art Ensemble of Chicago. He has on occasion been commissioned to write music. A piece for contrabass and percussion for the Wisconsin Alliance of Composers, was premiered April 7, 2000 in Madison where he now resides.


Scott Fields Ensemble: this that
with Peggy Lee, Dylan van der Schyff
CAT. #: ALP024
Like virtually all of Fields' music, the compositions on this that blur the distinction between what is improvised and what is composed. Currently the trend in much improvised music is to eliminate all thought of composition, and in fact that is what cellist Lee and percussionist van der Schyff expected when Fields proposed this project. But Fields rejects this movement, grumbling accusations under his breath of "simple convenience trumping architectural purity" and "economic realities superceding philosophical vigor." More openly he explains that "More than 30 years ago I performed in a trio that performed nothing but spontaneous music. Since then I've really lost interest in performing free impov. Although I do still occasionally perform purely spontaneous music as a sideman and in 'first meetings,' all of my recorded work relies on controlled variation of structure, pitch groupings, texture, and other musical characteristics as frameworks for improvisation." On this that, the basic materials for improvisation range from bare sketches to extended notated sections, all of which draw on Stephen Dembski's post-serial pitch organization system, which Fields has used for the past eight years.

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"When he does solo, Fields is inventive and accomplished and his instrument enjoys a wonderful sense of depth in the recording. Most of all, the compositions fit the group--Fields is a thoughtful and probing composer, again often bring to mind the late Eric Dolphy in his choice of wide intervals and corduroy rhythms."
- Carl Baugher, Cadence Magazine

"Fields' music will appeal to those who feel--as this critic does--that Eric Dolphy's 'Out to Lunch' was one of the seminal recordings of the '60s. That disc also sounds like a textbook for Fields and his quintet. Running with Scissors made me want to stick a microscope to my ear to catch all the nuances played by Fields and his group."
- Steve Goldstein, Midwest Jazz Magazine

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