THE NAME OF a working trio that includes guitarist John Stowell, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop, the Seattle-based Scenes has a nice chemistry that has evolved since the band first appeared as a quartet in 2001. This combo plays like a band and acts like a band: all 10 tunes here come from the pen of either Stowell or Johnson is one example, that all three get plenty of solo time is another. The cool thing is that Scenes starts with smart post-bop compositions, but really dig into a tune to explore its musical and improvisational possibilities, venturing further afield than a lot of groups out there.
Highlights include the roiling "Studio City," the jaunty but playful "When Jasper Grows Up" and the hard-swingin' "Lonely Blue Angel." One from the left coast that isn't from L.A. or San Francisco, Along The Way is the sound of trio on its way.