Scott Sawyer/Go There
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Scott Sawyer/Go There


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"REVIEW-- Featured Artist: Scott Sawyer"

CD Review of Scott Sawyer - Go There on Doll Records @
Featured Artist: Scott Sawyer
CD Title: Go There
Year: 2007
Record Label: Doll Records
Style: Blues

Musicians: Scott Sawyer (guitar), Kenny Soule (drums), Kofi
Burbridge (organ, flute), Oteil Burbridge (electric bass), Ron
Brendle (acoustic bass), Chris Garges (percussion)

Guitarist and composer Scott Sawyer has worked for over 30 years with artists like Nnenna
Freelon, Charlie Byrd, Jack Wilkens, David Murray and Jon Lucian, to name a few. On Go
There he is ably joined by an all-star cast. Included in the group are organist and flute
player Kofi Burbridge (late of the Derek Trucks Band), drummer Kenny Soule (who has
worked with the band Nantucket), electric bassist Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band and
the Aquarium Rescue Unit), acoustic bassist Ron Brendle (Mose Allison and Frank
Kimbrough) and free-lance recording artist and percussionist Chris Garges (who has worked
with the country band The Moody Brothers).

A better moniker for this excellent recording would be “The Scott Sawyer Blues Band,” for it
is the spirit of the blues that influences and percolates throughout. Some of the tunes are
overtly blues derived. “Slow Dance,” for example, is intentionally in the slow-blues-drag
style. With a stripped down unit of just guitar, bass and drums, with flute only appearing
during the solo section, everyone leaves their six-shooters at home and plays in support of a
truly poignant feeling. Kofi, who demonstrates a real feel for nuance and shades of color
when on organ, proves to be a great flutist during his solo and trading licks sections. He’s so
soulful he could make a specter cry.

The up-tempo “AR” rocks on. With a groove that is locked in the pocket, Sawyer turns in his
most inspired solo of the recording. It’s not just the fact he has technique to burn, it’s how
he uses that technique in tandem with Burbridge to get to the song’s heart in as direct a
manner as possible. Kofi’s great organ solo, he lays down some lines that can only be
described as righteous, follows the two string players' work, before Sawyer re-enters to drive
the piece home.

The ensemble’s take on George Harrison’s “Taxman” demonstrates just how much more
music there is still to be mined from The Beatles catalog and “Slow Down, Freight Train”
picks right up where “Slow Dance” left off, but this time it’s Sawyer who gets down and
dirty. Playing flatted thirds and sevenths may be the vehicle, but it’s in the delivery where
artists are defined. Holding back behind the beat just enough to capture the right emotion,
Sawyer demonstrates a real feel for statement and anti-statement. This disc is highly
recommended for all blues aficionados.

CD Review of Scott Sawyer - Go There on Doll Records @

Artist's Website:

Reviewed by: Thomas R. Erdmann
Copyright© 2007®.

"Interview: Oteil Burbridge 06-05-07"

excerpted from complete interview:

10. 1999’s “Stranger’s Hand” album with Howard Levy, Jerry Goodman, and Steve Smith, was an amazing mix of musical voices. Any other multiple collaboration projects planned?

I’m really trying hard to keep the extra curricular stuff to a minimum. I did do one CD with this great guitarist named Scott Sawyer. Its called “Go There”. My brother Kofi played on it and a great drummer named Kenny Soule. These guys are really amazing. I usually don’t have or make time for other projects but this one was so cool I had to do it. It turned out really great too. That CD is out now so GO GET IT.

12. Are there any set routines you go through to get ready for a gig/session, or do you prepare differently for each role?

Not really. I just try to not eat too much before a gig and I usually have a glass of wine for the nerves. I really hate the studio and try to avoid it as much as possible. The Go There sessions was the first time I really had lots of fun in the studio. -

"Guitar Man Scott Sawyer"

(article appeared here:

By Philip van Vleck

Scott Sawyer is one of North Carolina’s guitar masters. Jazz-wise enough to back Durham-based vocalist Nneena Freelon on several national and international tours, yet nasty enough to handle the lead guitar chores for Mel Melton & The Wicked Mojos. And, of course, between 1999 and 2004 Sawyer teamed with Kenny Soule and Bobby Patterson — late of Dag — to form Go There, a trio with a finely honed jazz fusion thing.

Sawyer is set to release a new album this month — Go There — and the feel of the tunes, while referencing both blues and jazz, is neither. The album is, indeed, a revisiting of Sawyer and Soule’s Go There band project, inspired, according to Sawyer, by Soule. In describing his new disc, Sawyer noted first that it’s an instrumental outing: “To me it’s not a jazz record, but some people might consider it a jazz record because it has a lot of improvisation,” Sawyer allowed. “It doesn’t swing in the traditional sense, however; it’s more groove oriented. As you know, I have a blues background, and you’ll definitely hear that on the album. I really don’t know what to call it. It’s somewhere in between jam band, jazz, funk, rock and blues. I’ll leave it up to the listener to decide.”

To this listener, Go There sounds like a righteous amalgam of jazz, funk, rock and blues performed by a crew of very solid players. For immediate inspiration, check the brilliant, funkified arrangement of George Harrison’s “Tax Man.” Also note the 12-minute tour-de-force “I Wish You Would” and the blues “Slow Down, Freight Train.”

The crucial thing with Go There is the musicianship. Everyone is simply outstanding. In addition to Soule’s pivotal contribution on drums and ideas, Sawyer noted that: “I had two bass players: Ron Brendle played acoustic bass on three songs and Oteil Burbridge played electric bass on the rest of the tunes. Kofi Burbridge, Oteil’s brother, played Hammond B-3 on 10 of the 11 tunes, and he also played some flute.”

Many rock fans will recognize Kofi for his role with the Derek Trucks Band. His brother, Oteil, is well known to fans of The Allman Brothers Band, as well as those who follow his band Oteil & The Peacemakers. Oteil is something of a bass-playing icon. Sawyer scored a major coup in snagging him for Go There.

“The first time I met Oteil in person was when Go There opened for him at the Lincoln Theatre in August of 2004,” Sawyer recalled. “I think he may have been aware of me before then through Kofi. I’d been communicating with Kofi via e-mail over a period of a year-and-a-half, and I’d spoken with him briefly over the phone when he was in town playing with Derek Trucks. We’d never played together, Kofi and I, but we had friends — musicians — who we’d worked with and we wanted to get something together. Also, my younger brother, John, had been passing these guys CDs of recordings I’d played on — handing them off mainly to Kofi for a couple of years. John was kind of instrumental in making this project happen. Even though I’d met Kofi over 20 years ago, when I was in Greensboro, John re-introduced us.”

Sawyer went on to explain that Kofi informed him, via e-mail, as they were discussing the Go There project, that Oteil was interested in working with them. Sawyer was taken aback by this offer, but only for a moment. He was quick to invite Oteil to the recording session. Asked how long it took to record Go There, Sawyer smiled and replied: “It depends on what you mean. I guess it goes back to the first time I ever did a project like this, which was the original Go There trio — Bobby Patterson, Kenny Soule and me — back in 1999. In terms of actually making this record, it took three days in the studio, start to finish, with no rehearsal ahead of time. It was pretty intense.”

The record was tracked at Old House Studio in South Carolina with engineer Chris Garges. “Chris is actually a very good drummer,” Sawyer noted. “I’d played some gigs with him and Ron Brendle and John Alexander — jazz gigs. Chris works with Don Dixon sometimes. Aside from being a very fine drummer, he’s an excellent recording engineer. He actually helped me produce the album.” Sawyer allowed that recording an album in three days was a bit stressful, but he firmly believes that, “it was a cool way to make a record. The stressful part came with some of the production issues, some of which were his responsibility.

“That was kind of splitting my brain a little bit,” he laughed. “Business and music don’t necessarily mix that well. Overall, however, I’m very happy with the end result,” adding, “I didn’t have the luxury of going in, recording, taking it home, listening to it, and then booking another date two or four months out, and then ultimately trying to make a coherent record out of the dates,” he explained. “That’s not necessarily a good thing anyway. I had to go in knowing there was x amount of time to make this rec - Metro Magazine (Raleigh), March 2007

"Scott Sawyer,"

This story originally appeared in the News & Observer (Raleigh) on May 6, 2007 AND online here:
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.

Scott Sawyer, "Go There" - 3 1/2 Stars - by Owen Cordle

If you know Raleigh guitarist Scott Sawyer from only his jazz gigs and tours with jazz singer Nnenna Freelon, "Go There" (Doll) opens a different door. Welcome to Scott Sawyer, the funk, rock, blues -- and jazz -- player. A comparison might be made to guitarists John Scofield and Bill Frisell, who also cast a wide net.

With a preponderance of Sawyer tunes, the album is all groove underneath. Drummer Kenny Soule locks in with the Burbridge brothers -- electric bassist Oteil from the Allman Brothers band and organist and flutist Kofi from the Derek Trucks band -- to produce the hippest of backbeats and syncopation. Acoustic bassist Ron Brendle spells Oteil on the slow, bluesy "Slow Down, Freight Train," and there's a hint of mystery in Sawyer's chords and amplifier effects -- but the groove remains righteous.

As enticing as the beat is, there is also a fine sense of proportion in the ensemble dynamics (check the powerful buildup of the 10-minute "I Wish You Would") and solo pacing. On the bona fide slow blues "Go Home," Sawyer takes the less-is-more solo approach, but even on more open-ended tunes, he remains focused and to the point.

The tone of the group is always just right. Soule's drum sound exudes funk. Oteil's bass, ranging from slinky ostinato figures to bubbling Jaco Pastorius-like solo runs, matches Kofi's organ colors and strategically placed entrances and hits. Kofi's flute is also used to good effect on "I Wish You Would" and the "Caravan"-like "Dark Lady."

If you're looking for a pure, hard-line jazz album, this is not it. But if you think it represents a compromise, think again. It's its own species.

"Go There" is available at - N&O/Owen Cordle; May 2007


"Scott Sawyer-Go There" (featuring special guests Oteil Burbridge & Kofi Burbridge) ...released April 2007

"Scott Sawyer-In The Stream" ...released December 1992

Scott Sawyer has been featured on many recordings including Nnenna Freelon's 1997 Grammy-Nominated release "Shaking Free" (Concord Records).

Streaming tracks are available at or



*Streaming audio at

Guitarist SCOTT SAWYER has been making music for years, playing venues of every description: music clubs, beer-soaked dives and prestigious venues around the world. Though Sawyer can swing cerebrally, solving prickly harmonic riddles like a mathematician, he's at his best as a blue collar
improviser combining funk, earthy jazz and accessible blues that make the listener wanna
holler. Scott’s band GO THERE reflects his interest in various genres.

In November 2006, Sawyer recorded "GO THERE" with Kenny Soule (Nantucket, Dag, PKM) on drums, Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Oteil and the Peacemakers) on electric bass, Kofi Burbridge (Derek Trucks Band, ARU) on B3 & flute and Ron Brendle (Big Octave, Frank Kimbrough) on acoustic bass. The sessions re-united Sawyer & Soule from the original GO THERE, which enjoyed a cult following in NC but disbanded in 2004. Also, Kofi and Oteil were reunited for their first recording together in 8 years. "There was no prior rehearsal and we had to work very quickly...but it was BIG FUN making this record and the music reflects that!" —(SS)

Today, GO THERE continues to push the envelope. Scott Sawyer (guitar), Kenny Soule (drums),
Ron Brendle (electric bass; Big Octave, Frank Kimbrough and William Stevens (Hammond B3;
SoloS Unit, Artimus Pyle Band) advance the GO THERE tradition of "edgy provocative groove" …compelling originals, unique reconstructions of classic songs and plenty of intense jamming. A melting pot of musical influences, GO THERE is all about taking chances, groove and communication.
From 1982-1996 guitarist Scott Sawyer spent much of his time in the jazz & improvised music trenches. Since then, he has enjoyed a steady return to his rock & blues roots via GO THERE, GHEZZI, MEL MELTON and others while continuing to explore the jazz tradition & beyond. He’s has appeared on numerous recordings spanning various genres including a Grammy-Nominated Performance in 1997 (NNENNA FREELON’S "Shaking Free").

Scott’s latest album, “Go There” was released in May 2007. Sawyer has collaborated with dancers & choreographers: "Blue Diner", a contemporary ballet choreographed by Adam Miller (set to Scott's composition "Blue Diner”) premiered 5/94 at City Center Studios (NYC). Scott performed it live with prima ballerina Marie-Christine Mouis (Paris Opera Ballet, Nureyev & Friends) and others at BALLET GROUP INTERNATIONAL’S Inaugural Concert (Durham, NC-- 5/94). He has interpreted visual art
through his own compositions: check out "Slow Down, Freight Train” & "Dark Lady" on his album, “Go There”. Sawyer has also arranged & recorded music for film (including "Once Around" w/ actor Danny Aiello).

Scott has been a featured artist/clinician/speaker at various venues including UNC-Chapel Hill (NC), UNCGreensboro (NC), University of Wisconsin (Whitewater), University of South Florida (Tampa) and The Institute of the Arts @ Duke University (Durham, NC). He continues to work with a limited number of music/guitar students.
Drummer KENNY SOULE brings a groove steeped in James Brown, British Invasion, Motown, Stax, Psychedelia, 70's Fusion and early AC/DC. Originally from New Britain, Ct, Kenny spent the majority of his years in Raleigh NC, where he established himself as a rock-solid and soulful player.

While pursuing a major in Percussion Performance at East Carolina University in the early 70s, he joined local rock faves Nantucket and toured the Southeast club circuit for years before signing with Epic and releasing three albums. Nantucket quickly became a familiar face on the arena circuit, opening coast to coast for most of the major acts of the era, including KISS, FOREIGNER, BOSTON, TED NUGENT, and AC/DC. In the 80's Kenny formed power trio PKM to much regional acclaim, including one album distributed by Polygram. During the 90's Kenny brought his funky R&B stylings to the masses with DAG, a combo initially formed by visionary producer/songwriter John Custer. DAG released two critically acclaimed CDs on Columbia/Sony along with 4 music videos, and toured the US and Europe relentlessly.

At the turn of the century, Kenny re-established himself in New York City. Drawing on his rich legacy of rock and soul, he is constantly refining his craft with a variety of artists across many genres, including country, Americana, jazz, and blues.
Kenny is a proud endorser of Paiste cymbals, Sonor drums, Pro Mark sticks, and Aquarian drumheads.
RON BRENDLE, a freelance bassist in the Charlotte area since