Interplay is the name of the game with Scenes new release "Trapeze". Saxophonist Rick Mandyck's tune, "All Day Pass", opens the set. It's a medium tempo, well crafted original with lots of open space. All players participate, carefully listening to each other, bending twisting and creating a dark and mysterious canvas. Rick's strong tone and his ability to carefully pace his notes allows the players time to absorb and react to what he is saying. John Stowell uses his mastery of texture and color with chords of his own invention to open the minds of the players and listeners to the harmonic possibilities. A solo section that begins with guitar and then turns into a captivating trio exchange of ideas is especially moving. The bass and drums then break into their own conversation before the melody is restated.
"Highwaymen" is a fine medium up-tempo Jeff Johnson original that swings beautifully. Bass and drums are locked in sync throughout. John has the first solo with splashes of harmonic color combined with just the right amount of single note runs. Rick solos next and his deep rich tone comes through with strong creative lines. His ideas are tastefully spaced out allowing for a striking dialog with the drums that are perfectly tuned into his playing. Throughout Bishop is outstanding in his supportive role and at expressing his own individual voice; allowing the quartet to attain soaring moments of clarity. Jeff Johnson plays a beautifully soulful solo and drives the band to excellence with his clear tone and precise lines.
"Trapeze" consists of five Rick Mandyck originals, two Jeff Johnson originals and Claudine Francois's "Trapeze". This CD is a perfect example of Jazz where everyone has a seat at the table. Like so much of the world's finest Jazz, it's the individuals and their personal contribution to the music and their relationship with each other that makes all the difference. Nowhere else is this more true then in the makeup of the Scenes Quartet.