Scenes is a trio consisting of guitarist John Stowell, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop. These three master musicians come together on Along The Way to produce one of the most captivating albums of the past year.
All ten tunes on this album were written by either Stowell or Johnson. Ever tune has its own unique voice, yet they all come together to produce a continuity that unites the entire album. Of particular note is the bass-driven "Studio City," which features Johnson on the melody with a hard-driving rhythmic pulse from Bishop. There is also the haunting "Macchu Picchu," which is the longest tune on the album but one hardly notices as the tune is gripping through the entire nine plus minutes.
Stowell's playing on this album is some of his best to date. With his jagged rhythms and flowing melodic lines, each solo has its own distinct flavor. Stowell's chord work is some of the best in the business. With a strong influence of Monk and Evans shining through, Stowell manages to produce sounds on the guitar that are rarely heard or sometimes even thought impossible. With his use of open strings and his unique sitting position, Stowell's playing is never one-dimensional. His is constantly jumping between single lines, chord melodies and double stops with an ease that brings out envy in any jazz guitarist.
I highly recommend Scenes "Along The Way." The tunes are exciting and intricate, the solos engaging and the interaction first-rate. I think this album would make a great addition to any jazz fan's collection.