Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Fields, Scott

Fields, Scott, composer, guitarist; b. Chicago, IL, 30 September 1952. His mother is Barbara Rueckert. His father was William Solomon Feigenbaum, a Romanian furrier who relocated to Chicago in 1953. Fields was born in Chicago and lived in the Hyde Park neighborhood (where the AACM flowered) on the South Side until he turned 21, then on the near north side (at the time the land of folk singers and earnest rock bands) before moving to Madison, Wisconsin.

From the time he purchased his first guitar at age 12 until he was in his early twenties, he practiced and studied relentlessly. His early influences were, in general, the lamest possible pop, a retelling of which earned him a spot as The Onion's featured pathetic geek. At his first professional performances, he was still too young to legally enter the bars in which his blues bands appeared. Then, when he was 19, after a couple of years playing in various rock groups, he became increasingly influenced by the AACM performances he had been attending for the previous several years. He then began performing in a loud, free-jazz trio, which lasted until shortly before the premature death of one of its founding members, trumpeter and organist Stan White, in 1973. For a long period after that, he was institutionalized and although at first he continued to practice, it was impossible to perform musically. In 1989 he started composing and playing again.

He graduated from William Ray Elementary School, attended Kenwood High School and Central YMCA High School. Eventually he was able to pass the GED test. Much later, he received a diploma in "electronics technology" from the DeVry Institute of Technology, entered the University of Wisconsin at Madison as a music major before graduating with baccalaureates in economics and journalism and a Masters in mass communication research from the School of Journalism. In addition, in the past 20 years a number of fine musicians have attempted to teach him. He's studied classical guitar with Sherry Conway, George Lindquist, and Javier Calderon and jazz guitar with Carl Michel and Roger Brotherhood.

As a leader, he performs with a number of line-ups. He calls them all The Scott Fields Ensemble. The ensemble includes at various times Carrie Biolo (vibraphone), Michael Bisio (contrabass), Geoff Brady (percussion), Kyle Bruckmann (oboe, English horn), Marilyn Crispell (piano), Matt Turner (cello), Vincent Davis (percussion), Stephen Dembski (conduction), Hamid Drake (percussion), Gerry Hemingway (percussion), Elizabeth Falconer (koto), Michael Formanek (contrabass), Guillermo Gregorio (alto saxophone, clarinet), Franssois Houle (clarinet), Robbie Hunsinger (oboe, English horn), Derek James (trombone), Raymond Kaczynski (percussion), Greg Kelley (trumpet), Peggy Lee (cello), Rob Mazurek (cornett), Myra Melford (piano), Larry Ochs (saxophone), Joseph Jarman (saxophone), John Padden (contrabass), Ed Pias (percussion), Jeff Parker (guitar), Donald Robinson (percussion), Damon Short (percussion), Robert Stright (vibraphone), Hans Sturm (contrabass), Dylan van der Schyff (percussion), and Michael Zerang (percussion).

On occasion hes's commissioned to write music. Recently, he performed a commission for Li Chiao-Ping Dance. It was a "reimagination" of J.S. Bach's third cello suite BWV 1009. The previous large project, recently released on the Italian Rossbin label, was an extended suite-which was funded by the Dane County Cultural Commission and Madison CitiARTs-for a quintet that includes percussionist Carrie Biolo, double reedist Kyle Bruckmann, single reedist Guillermo Gregorio, trumpet player Greg Kelley, and Fields. He's also writing more material for my trio with contrabassist Michael Formanek and percussionist Michael Zerang. In early 2000, he wrote a piece for contrabass and percussion that was a commission from the Wisconsin Alliance of Composers. It premiered April 7, 2000 in Madison. Another not-too-old commission was as part of a research grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board. A few years back the dance troupe Kanopy hired Fields to write music for a children's performance and choreographer Li Chiao-Ping has informally commissioned him, as well. He have done freelance writing assignments for such publications as Environmental Health Perspectives and the now-defunct Earth Magazine. Some of his compositions are posted in PDF form at The New Music Jukebox, which the American Music Center operates.

Over the last half-decade or so, he has concentrated on providing a method through which chamber ensembles can develop extended improvisations.

Running with Scissors (1993); Fugu (1995); 48 Motives (1996); Disaster at Sea, an Opera Seria (1996); Five Frozen Eggs (1997); Stephen Dembski's Sonotropism (1997); denouement (1999); Fields-Houle-Roebke: Hornets Collage (2000); this that (2001); Mamet (2001); 96 Gestures (2001); From the Diary of Dog Drexel (2002);
As sideperson:
Heinz Geisser-Guerino Mazzola Quartet: Maze (1999), Heliopolis (2000); Bill O'Brien: Cool at the Union (1980); Silt Loam Ensemble: Silt Loam Ensemble (1990), Etiloation (1991); Gathering (Compilation) (1996); Live at Eyedrum (Compilation) (2000); Deluxe Improvisation Series, volume 2 (Compilation) (2001) 

Radio and TV broadcasts:
2 live performance videos aired on BET: 1- live Knitting Factory concert with Roswell Rudd and his band BROADSTROKES(1999/2000)
2- Live Knitting Factory concert with Joseph Jarman and LIFETIME VISIONS ORCHESTRA (1999/2000)
See the accompanying CV as well.
Throughout time in LA there were numerous live radio performances at KCRW, and other public radio stations, with Vinny Golia, Joelle Leandre, Richard Grossman, Alex & Nels Cline and other LA musicians, but I did not keep records of these dates.
Premiere solo bass work, "Yauchzen," by Kitty Brazelton: 1995, ROULETTE, New York

Unissued recordings, films, videos:
1/22/02 about 9 hours of recording with Hafez Modirzadeh and Royal Hartigan on a "work in progress" combining free improvisations in conjunction with folk-song type materials.
About 12 hours of recorded music for a trio (Ursel Schlicht, Lou Grassi and Ken Filiano). work in progress (2003)
4 hours recording trio with pianist Marilyn Lerner and Lou Grassi. work in progress (2003) work in progress.
Live recording of classcical chamber piece (never released) "Pueblo Mulato" by Tania Leon. (1999)
About 12 hours of recording and live performances of electric trio of Adam Caine (guiatar) & Phil Haynes. (2002-2003) work in progress.
Bruce Fowler music & poetry "Etherial Beings." privately released CD. (recorded 1991, released 2001)
Recorded music for dance by Phillip Johnston, "My Sister Was a Refugee." (1999)
8 hours of recorded music for two contrabasses - Ken Filiano & Francois Grillot. (2003) work in progress.
Two unreleased disks of trio music and sextet music of Steve Adams (recorded 1998)
Two CD's of music for Jazz Quartet and one complete 4-movement suite for Jazz Quartet not released. Music by pianist Richard Thompson.  (1996 - 2000 approximate).

Contact information:
1710 Rutledge Street
Madison, Wisconsin  53704
608 246.8504 (Madison)
608 246.0081 (fax)
773 384.2293 (Chicago)

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