Scenes, another Pacific Northwest group, began as a quartet: guitarist Johhn Stowell, bassist Jeff Johnson, drummer John Bishop and tenor saxman Rick Mandyck. When a health problem forced Mandyck to depart, the group continued as a trio.
"Along The Way" is the new group's first release.
Each musician is well-known in the jazz fraternity, and all have played and recorded with numerous "name" groups.
All the tracks on the CD are originals - seven are written by Stowell, the remaining three by Johnson - and all fall into the "mood music" category. Few arrangements are up-tempo, and many tracks vary the meter as the tune progresses.
Be that as it may, the result is beautifully soothing. The guitar carries the primary melodies, but both the guitar and bass contribute to excursions from those lines. The interplay between guitar and bass is masterful, and Bishop's drums provide excellent - and unobtrusive - support. You can tell they're all enjoying themselves.
This group would best fit into an upscale lounge or a small concert venue. They're not exactly exciting, and they don't really swing, but their music is too beautiful to be obscured by casual chatter; this trio demands, and deserves, attentive listening.
After you've played the CD often enough to appreciate its nuances, you might decide to use it as background while reading. Even so, I'll bet its beauty will make it difficult for you to keep your attention focused on the written words.