John Scofield Reunites Uberjam for First Night and NPR

By
Rob Hayes
December 19, 2012
John Scofield’s Überjam Band
Matthew Halpin's Earwax Control
Photo: Nick Suttle.
Photo: Anna Talpe

First Night Boston, Berklee College of Music, and 89.7 WGBH present John Scofield’s Überjam, performing at the Berklee Performance Center on New Year's Eve, Monday, December 31, kicking off NPR's annual worldwide jazz broadcast, Toast of the Nation. The concert is a centerpiece of this year's First Night Boston festival. 

Admission is $18 by purchase of a First Night button. John Scofield’s Überjam performs at 8:45 p.m. (NPR broadcast, and nprmusic.org, at 9:00 p.m. EST). Eric Jackson, host of WGBH's Eric in the Evening will be the Boston broadcast’s master of ceremonies. 1973 Berklee alumnus Scofield’s performance will be re-aired on NPR at 12:15 a.m. PST for listeners who missed the first broadcast.

This legendary band reunites for 2013, both on the road and in the studio. The Boston reunion show, live on the radio worldwide, will feature Avi Bortnick, guitar, Andy Hess, bass, and Louis Cato ‘04, drums. This group pioneered Scofield’s fusing of jazz, funk, and electronic music to become one of the defining bands of his career. The original Überjam record was released in 2002, with Up All Night the following year—recordings that documented Scofield’s fruitful collaboration with guitarist/computer manipulator Avi Bortnick, drummer Adam Deitch ‘98, and bassist Andy Hess. The group will be joined in the studio this winter by drummers Cato and Deitch for a release due out in May on Emarcy/Universal, before hitting the road for the remainder of 2013. 

Listen to "Ideofunk" by Überjam.

Matthew Halpin’s Earwax Control performs the first set of the evening at 7:30 p.m. Dublin-born tenor saxophonist Halpin leads his virtuosic and fun quartet of top Berklee students in a performance that will include group improvisation to classic film clips. Christian Li on piano, Jared Henderson on bass, and Roberto Giaquinto, drums, round out the group. The Halpin and Scofield performances will be seated separately. The Berklee Performance Center is located at 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. Please call 617 747-2261 for more information.

New Year's Eve 2012 marks the ninth consecutive year that Berklee, 89.7 WGBH, and NPR have collaborated to kick-off the live-jazz-based holiday celebration Toast of the Nation. It is the fifth year that First Night Boston has been a partner as well. Heard on more than 200 NPR affiliate stations, NPR Worldwide, NPRmusic.org, and Sirius XM RadioToast of the Nation begins in Boston and will move across the country, with Berklee alumnus Henry Cole and the Afrobeat Collective; Wynton Marsalis with Vince Giordano live from Jazz at Lincoln Center; Dee Alexander’s tribute to Jimi Hendrix and James Brown, from Chicago; an historic 1990 live recording of Clark Terry and Red Holloway from the Jazz Showcase in Chicago; and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, recorded at this year’s Monterey Jazz Festival. At 12:15 a.m. PST, the Scofield Überjam performance from Boston will be rebroadcast to the world.

For a full schedule of performances, and to find local participating NPR stations, please visit wbgo.org/toast. The concert can be heard in the Boston area on 89.7 WGBH FM. It will also be audio archived after the fact on NPRmusic.org. Toast of the Nation is produced for NPR by WBGO-FM, Newark; WGBH Radio produces the Boston portion of the broadcast.