Scenes

Rinnova

origin 82555

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iTunes - $9.99


MUSIC REVIEW BY Kyle O'Brien, Oregon Jazz Scene

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John Stowell, Jeff Johnson and John Bishop have been playing together as Scenes for nearly a decade, and the group continues to evolve and develop as a trio rather than a collection of players. It's not about showcasing one instrument or even one sound. Their work is reminiscent of the fusion of the '70s and early '80s, like that done by Mike Stern or John Abercrombie, though it is definitely of the now. Stowell's guitar approach is softer and more delicate even as it tackles thick chords and dense textures, due to his nylon-stringed instrument. The trio isn't just about being a more acoustic version of a fusion act, though - it's about creating textures, colors and compelling sonic landscapes. The disc begins with some free-form jazz, with Bishop attacking the drums with a flurry of stickwork and Johnson strumming hard chords before settling into a light modal groove. It swings and grooves through a few tracks until the haunting bowed bass by Johnson on "Leviathan," a slow piece with a pronounced low end, which fits the nautical theme. Stowell sails over the top with nylon-stringed chord jabs as Bishop uses brushes to heighten the feeling of wind and waves. Things get a little freer on "Art of Falling," then get light with "Fun with Fruit." Johnson switches to electric on "Little Church," a free-flowing tune that lets Johnson and Stowell interweave lines. As an interesting closer, Stowell picks up a fretless guitar, which creates a dizzying effect with Johnson's bass on "Clues," a tune that will challenge the listener while creating a sense of colorful whimsy. These three continue to create cohesive musical conversations while searching for new ways to weave their magic.






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