After a decade of playing together, the trio Scenes has developed a large measure of cohesiveness. They play well individually and function at a high level as a team. Here they perform their own unique versions of Wayne Shorter's "Black Eyes," Herbie Hancock's "Chan's Song," and John Coltrane's "Resolution," along with three originals by Stowell and four by Johnson. Their own tunes are accessibly melodic, some of them being in conventional song form. And although their way of playing the tunes is always adventurous, it may vary according to the piece. For example, Johnson's "Sepia," a 16-bar up-tempo composition, features a walking bass and a steady 4/4 drum beat, while their novel treatment of "Resolution" involves a surprising funk underpinning. But in many other cases the bassist creates propulsive melodic lines under the solo guitarist while the drummer is generating a variety of complementary rhythmic patterns.
Stowell demonstrates excellent control of his guitars and consistently offers interesting, uncliched improvisations. Johnson also is technically fluent and solos with passion. Bishop commands a large arsenal of rhythmic approaches and possesses a strong sense of time. Together, they constitute a strong ensemble.