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Posts Tagged ‘Character Farm and Other Short Stories’

Jonathan Scales announced the World Premier of his new video for the song “The Longest December” from the 2011 album “Character Farm and Other Short Stories”

“Scales showcases his dexterity with a searing torrent of par runs on the devious, guitar-tinged The Longest December.” —Exclaim.ca

“Overall, there is a crisp sound to the album as the instrumental stories take shape. The title track Character Farm is a relaxing ride after the darker side of The Longest December takes a steel pan frenzy.” — Sarah Morgan, Atlanta Music Examiner

Get the Character Farm and Other Short Stories at: http://www.jonscales.com/shop.cfm

“The term ‘genius’ is not a platitude I bandy about regularly, but it fits here.  Jonathan Scales is to the steel pans what Bela Fleck is to the banjo or David Grisman is to the mandolin – instrumental innovator and brilliant composer – and his Character Farm & Other Short Stories is a mindbender of pan-driven jazz, with guest spots by Jeff Coffin and Kofi Burbridge.  My favorite record of the year for its sheer virtuosity and pure inventiveness.  It’s unlike anything else I heard in 2011.” —Dave Stallard, Honest Tune

“Character Farm features the churning 6/8 Jam We Did, the slightly-island strut of Science Fair Project, the breakneck steel-drum’n’bass of The Longest December, and Muddy Vishnu, a dynamic tune filled with plot twists reminiscent of The Flecktones’ classic Sinister Minister.” —ROBIN TOLLESON, Bold Life 

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Jonathan Scales Fourchestra “The Longest December”

Directed by Daniel Judson
Theatre lighting director – Erik McDaniel
Band: Phill Bronson – drums. Cody Wright/Michael Libramento – bass. Duane Simpson -Guitar. Jonathan Scales – steel pan
Sound engineering by Michael Hynes
Dancer: Cherry Oh

http://www.jonscales.com

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Jonathan Scales is offering a free download of a song off his new album “Character Farm and Other Short Stories.”

Character Farm is available at http://www.jonscales.com along with a glossy 19 x 13 poster depicting the custom designed comic book graphics illustrating each song with artwork by Gregory Keyzer.

Jonathan Scales: “The Trap” featuring Casey Driessen

Scales states, “I wrote ‘The Trap’ for a performance that I felt obligated to do (hence the name). I didn’t know all the details about the event but they asked me to compose a piece using those first 8 notes. In hindsight, the jaggedness of the melody was probably a hidden form of rebelling against this show that I didn’t initially want to do. But we played ‘The Trap’ at the event and got a standing ovation! At that point I went into the studio and recorded the track to be added to the album. Glad it all happened!”

Artwork for "The Trap" by Gregory Keyzer.

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Steel Pannist, Jonathan Scales recently released a new album entitled “Character Farm and Other Short Stories”. Here are a few reviews that have come in…

Kevin Jones with Exclaim.CA wrote:

Admittedly, the idea of a steel pan virtuoso likely conjures up images of a human carnival dynamo setting festivals ablaze with a mesmerizing display of some hot, hot island heat. Thusly hailed pannist Jonathan Scales, however, offers none of this, instead delivering a far more impressive collection of heady, multi-directional jazz soundscapes that bristle as his Fourchestra bandmates flip, slip and slide through the myriad tempo twists and compositional turns that make up Character Farm & Other Short Stories. Scales showcases his dexterity with a searing torrent of par runs on the devious, guitar-tinged “The Longest December,” while the epic tale told on “Complete,” with its double-time jazz opening descending into a tense, cavernous midsection, and the unconventional, shape-shifting “Science Fair Project” offer a scattershot glimpse at the gathered musicians’ fertile minds at work. Through the album’s countless turns, Scales manages to blend in the very particular sound of steel pan seamlessly with everything from a flute, horn and saxophone to the oft-accompanying electric guitar, all while showing off the easily stereotyped instrument in a new light.

See the post here: http://exclaim.ca/Reviews/SoulFunkAndWorld/jonathan_scales_fourchestra-character_farm_other_short_stories

MyJoog.com wrote:

Just in time for Spring Break, we received Jonathan Scales – Character Farm & Other Short Stories. Scales plays the steel pan – an instrument associated with Trinidad & Tobago, but this is nowhere near conventional Island music. I love this CD, particularly “The Trap” which includes fiddler  Casey Driessen. Other guest artists include Jeff Coffin, Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge. “Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers ” is hypnotic while “Muddy Vishnu” gets rockin’. The title track is as close as you get to an Island sound – can’t wait to listen on the beaches in south Florida with a bottle of rhum.

See the review here: http://myjoog.blogspot.com/2011/04/trying-to-find-room-on-ipod.html?spref=tw

Ashley Wilson with the Mountain Times in Boone writes:

To come across a band with a full-time steel pannist is rare. To come across a band with the steel pan as the central instrument is even more rare.

. . .   . . .    . . .  In April 2011, Scales releases his third album “Character Farm and Other Short Stories.”

“Character Farm” is a collection of nine instrumental “stories.” The album is accompanied by a comic book design sleeve. Scales is depicted on the cover as a superhero wielding pansticks. Inside, artist Gregory Keyzer provides graphic interpretations of each song. With Scales’ music being entirely instrumental, the visual aids are a nice touch that may help listeners better understand his vision.

Scales considers his music “jazz fusion.” The steel pan is not traditionally associated with jazz, but he has adapted well to the style. Scales credits innovative banjoist Bela Fleck with inspiring him to disregard the imaginary boundaries placed on instruments.

The members of the Fourchestra, guitarist Duane Simpson, drummer Phill Bronson and bassist Michael Libramento, are excellent at jazz craft and assist Scales in achieving his distinct sound. The lengthy opener, “Jam We Did,” is an excellent example of the camaraderie of the performers, with Scales opening the floor for everyone to have a solo. Another jam on the album, “Complete,” showcases the members’ jazz abilities and serves as proof that the steel pan can indeed be considered a jazz instrument.

Jonathan Scales does not limit himself to a strict jazz regimen. His penchant for experimentation is most obvious in the last two songs of “Character Farm.” The appropriately titled “Science Fair Project” incorporates the flute of Kofi Burbridge, from the Derek Trucks Band. “The Trap,” with guest Casey Driessen, could very well be the first time a fiddler and steel pannist have performed on the same song.

Other guests on “Character Farm” include Dave Matthews Band saxophonist Jeff Coffin and Derek Trucks Band percussionist Yonrico Scott. They join the Fourchestra on “Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers.” The combination of steel pan, African percussion and the saxophone make it the most diverse song of the album.

Scales is promoting “Muddy Vishnu” as the first single from “Character Farm.” The title is a cross between Muddy Waters and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, a 1970s jazz fusion group. Verging on urban hip-hop territory, it furthers the idea that for Scales, the steel pan has no bounds. He has released a colorful video online, which is well worth checking out.

“Character Farm” solidifies Jonathan Scales’ place as one of western North Carolina’s most innovative and creative artists. Not only as a performer, but as the composer of all the music on the album, Scales is a groundbreaker.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www2.mountaintimes.com/entertainment_focus/Jonathan_Scales_Fourchestra_id_003326

To find out more about Jonathan Scales and get the album, visit: www.JonScales.com

Live footage from the Album Release show in Asheville:


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Jonathan Scales had an amazing album release event this past weekend in Asheville at the Emerald Lounge.  The new album, Character farm and Other Short Stories, is now available on his website and i-tunes. Bold Life did a great interview with Jonathan Scales and below are some excerpts:

Building Character

BY ROBIN TOLLESON in Bold Life www.boldlife.com

For his third album, Character Farm And Other Short Stories, steel drumming frontman Jonathan Scales wanted to imitate long form. “Back in the day the great composers like Wagner wrote complete works from top to bottom as opposed to just a bunch of songs mixed together,” he says. “An epic saga that takes you through all the movements.”

To help tie together the musical fusion of his Fourchestra, Scales called upon the comic book-inspired artwork of Gregory Keyzer. “There’s a different illustration for every song,” Scales says. “It’s cool because you can kind of put a visual image with each piece. The album is packaged like a book of short stories, but there’s an overlying theme. The sonic tapestry, mixed with the congruent artwork, really ties the whole thing together. The pictures help people make their judgments about what it’s about and how they feel about it. It’s not complete long form, but it’s closer.”

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“Every time I put out a CD I want to get further along,” Scales says. “It takes a lot of planning to have a successful release. You work hard on the music, and you want people to hear it, so that’s when you have to kick in on the other side and try to get things rolling.” Scales planned a pre-release campaign to build some momentum. In February he released a behind-the-scenes video with footage from the recording session. And last month he released a full-length music video of his song “Muddy Vishnu.” “I’m trying to get people interested,” he says.

The Fourchestra recorded Character Farm at Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville, in the fashion of classic jazz records. “We all played together,” Scales says. “We got enough separation that we could get some real good sounds, so it comes off like a studio album with a lot of energy, as a mixture between a live recording and a studio album, kind of like the best of both worlds. That was (sound engineer) Michael Hynes’ approach to the thing.

Character Farm features the churning 6/8 “Jam We Did,” the slightly-island strut of “Science Fair Project,” the breakneck steel-drum’n’bass of “The Longest December,” and “Muddy Vishnu,” a dynamic tune filled with plot twists reminiscent of The Flecktones’ classic “Sinister Minister.”

“This set has my same style, as far as some metric complexities and style changes. Different uses of rhythms and timbres and harmonies,” Scales explains. The music is solid, he says, because the lineup was solid. “My other two albums had streams of different people. This album is definitely more focused.”

Guitarist Duane Simpson, drummer Phill Bronson, and bassist Michael Libramento are the main backing cast on the album, with four guests, saxophonist Jeff Coffin, flutist Kofi Burbridge, percussionist Yonrico Scott, and fiddler Casey Driessen.

“Overall it has a pretty edgy sound,” Scales says. “It has highs and lows as far as dynamics and styles. ‘Muddy Vishnu’ is definitely on the more rockin’ side — my take on a mix between Muddy Waters and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I wanted it to be a subtle thing to where if you understand or if you’ve never heard them, it’s not a big deal and you’ll still enjoy the song.”

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READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE and find out more about Jonathan’s history and the rest of the Fourchestra:  http://www.boldlife.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A18113

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Photo By Jon Leidel

Show Details at a Glance:

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra

w/ Marley Carroll (DJ Set)
MoDaddy’s
Friday, October 1st, 2010

9pm, $5, 21+
828-258-1550
77-B Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801

The steel pan, an amazing musical discovery born in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad & Tobago, is often times associated with sandy beaches, tropical climates, and cruise ships: that’s not exactly what you get at a show by the jazz-fusion quartet, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra.

Here you have a classically trained composer turned steel pan maestro (front man Jonathan Scales), heavily influenced by the complexity of banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck to the hustle of Jay-Z.  Gritty  blues guitar (Duane Simpson) and ‘old-soul’ bass (Michael Libramento) provide the harmonic support for Scales’ sound, while gospel/hip-hop drums (Phill Bronson) drive the time-shifting, modern  grooves.  The cast of Characters hold this mind-bending concoction together with jazz edge and classical sensibility.

Steel pannist and virtuoso composer, Jonathan Scales, formed his ‘Fourchestra’ in 2007 as a means to deliver his musically complex, but somehow accessible ideas to anyone willing to listen. Since then, Scales has released two well received, full-length works (2007’s One-Track Mind and 2008’s Plot/Scheme) featuring the likes of Jeff Coffin (of Dave Matthews Band), Joseph Wooten (of Steve Miller Band), and Jeff Sipe (of Aquarium Rescue Unit). 2011 will usher in the 3rd installment of Jonathan’s musical saga, “Character Farm and Other Short Stories”.  Scales’ versatility and innovative nature have allowed him to share the stage with acts like The Wooten Brothers Band, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, The Duhks, Everyone Orchestra, Toubab Krewe, Ben Sollee, Casey Dreissen, and Futureman.

Press:

“…A Thelonius Monk-like attitude with a Mozart creativity that works.” –Pan on the net

“At the end of the day, Scales is going to be a major play in rewriting the books on steelpan music outside of the box.” –When Steel Talks

“…rising star of the steel drums…” –Traps Magazine

“…Jonathan Scales makes the pans fit in unconventional musical spaces…” – Modern Drummer

“The innovative Asheville, North Carolina based steel drummer Jonathan Scales brings new vitality to the traditional Caribbean instrument on his sophomore release, picking up where Othello Molineaux left off 20 years ago with Jaco Pastorius.” – JazzTimes

“Jonathan Scales is dropping serious musical conversation. . . Jonathan Scales clearly has something to say – and he is letting his talent and pan instrument do the talking. There are many pretenders, but double second pan player Jonathan Scales is The Real Deal. ” – Pan on the Net

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