Scott (December 30, 2023)
Scott at Briggs Guitars (2015)

Scott Sawyer displays his musical diversity like a badge of honor, re-visiting his blues & rock roots while continuing to explore the jazz tradition & beyond. He’s performed at major festivals, concert halls, and beer-soaked dives here and abroad(Central America, Asia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East) including Monterey Jazz Festival, Herbst Jazz Festival, St. Lucia Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz, 2002 Silde Jazz; Ottawa Jazz Festival; Detroit Jazz Festival, Berlin Chamber Music Hall; Blue Note (NYC); Catalina Jazz Club (LA).

Born in Chicago, Sawyer was introduced to jazz and other music at an early age via his father’s record collection, which included recordings by John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Lou Rawls, and Nancy Wilson. Early on, Jimi Hendrix and Michael Bloomfield caught his ear and led him to Chicago blues and blues/roots-influenced rock. Tim Buckley, The Doors, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, and others were also early inspirations.

By the time he landed in Greensboro, NC as a junior in high school, Scott had lived in Chicago-land, Maine, and Texas. Already immersed in Chicago blues, he was exposed to Southern roots/rock and fusion. Over time, jazz became a priority. Guitarist Jim Hall caught his ear and sparked a deeper interest in jazz guitar and harmony; lessons with John Scofield and Mick Goodrick added fuel to the fire. He landed a steady gig in Greensboro, NC with vibraphonist Jon Metzger that lasted a couple of years. From 1984-1996 Sawyer’s trio and special guests performed most Wednesdays at the legendary Pyewacket in Chapel Hill, NC.

Sawyer has shared the stage and/or recorded with many artists of note, including John Abercrombie, Charlie Byrd, David Murray, ‘prima ballerina’ Marie-Christine Mouis, Bob Cranshaw, Buster Williams, Ron Brendle, Oteil Burbridge, Ed Thigpen, Grady Tate, Keith Waters, Bill Anschell, Ed Paolantonio, Willie Pickens, Dave Finucane, Tony Williamson, Kate McGarry, Nnenna Freelon, Lois Deloatch, Carolyn Ghezzi, and Danny Aiello.

In 1985 Sawyer toured Central America as a member of the Jon Metzger Quartet (USIA Arts America Program). He’s recorded and performed here and abroad since 1989 with jazz singer Nnenna Freelon (1992 Philip Morris Superband World Tour and more).

Sawyer has appeared on 45+ recordings spanning a range of genres.

His latest album “Change of Scene” with Oteil Burbridge and Scott Amendola was released Nov 2022. “Night Visions” was released in 2020. “Dreamers” (2013) includes guest appearances by Kate McGarry. “Go There” (2007) featured Kofi and Oteil Burbridge and charted on XM Radio. “Guitarspeak” (EP, 1999) was preceded by “In The Stream” (1993).

In 2013 Sawyer joined the Durham Jazz Workshop faculty where he works with adult combos and offers private instruction. He’s a former teaching instructor at East Carolina University (2010-2022) and UNC-CH (2012-2020). He continues to perform often, freelancing and leading his groups.