Guitarists John Abercrombie and John Scofield join forces for these early-'80s sessions, mostly duets while occasionally adding bassist George Mraz and drummer Peter Donald. They delve into the jazz canon with an intricate duet of "Solar," a driving, Latin-fused take of "Four on Six" (in which Abercrombie overdubs an electric mandolin), and a dreamy duo interpretation of "If You Could See Me Now." The sole standard, "I Should Care," fares just as well in their hands, which settles into a relaxed exchange between the two players as if they are playing for themselves alone. Scofield's "Small Wonder" is scored for the quartet, a bristling post-bop vehicle with a feature for Mraz as well.
Most John Patton albums are hard-driving, edgy soul-jazz and funk, and the title of Accent on the Blues makes the record seem like it would be no different than his other sessions. Of course, that isn't the case. Accent on the Blues is among the most atmospheric music Patton has ever made. While it stops short of being free, it's hardly funky soul-jazz, and that may disappoint some fans of his rip-roaring style. Nevertheless, the album is a rewarding listen, primarliy because it displays a more reflective side of his talent, demonstrating that he can hold his own among the likes of guitarist James Blood Ulmer and saxophonist Marvin Cabell.
Many highlights of Scofield's work from his late 1980s-early 1990s tenure on Blue Note are included in this collection, which features cameos from Pat Metheny, Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, and Bill Frisell among many other all stars. Also included is material from Hand Jive, Scofield's collaboration with Eddie Harris, and an unreleased take on Wayne Shorter's "Tom Thumb".