The saxophonist Rick Mandyck, guitarist John Stowell, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop released their debut as Scenes in 2001, and this first live recording captures their unparalleled chemistry together, where mostly originals unfold with a strong sense of connection between the band and audience.
"Tilbury Hill" gets the listen off to a warm, soothing start, where the agile sax and spirited guitar is met with cozy drumming, and "Trudge" follows with a stylish and frisky appeal that really showcases the fluid drumming from Bishop.
Moving forward, the middle tracks are among the best, where the bouncy bass of "Companions" complements the soulfulness of the mood, while the title track gets quite intimate, even stirring, in its cautiousness that pays close attention to atmosphere.
"Studio City" lands near the end and illustrates much precision between the rhythm section via its unpredictable nature, and Jim Pepper's "Witchi Tai To" exits with Stowell's meticulous guitar prowess making an impression.
A very exciting and timeless listen in the area of post-bop that can swing with the best of them but also emits an introspective demeanor, all 4 players are in fine form on this evening, and it signifies a return to live music after the pandemic lockdowns.