Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

Check out this in depth Q & A interview with Jonathan Scales by the CAISO SteelBand: Meet Jonathan Scales, SteelPan Jazz Rock Star.  To read the full article please click on the link.

Jonscales

. . .   . . .   . . .

In a Q&A interview with Mike King Jr, Jonathan Scales, is living proof that there is gold in them hills of North Carolina. Mr. Scales breaks down how he was introduced to the SteelPan, describes his “Fourchestra”, and talks about making the 1st Music Video featuring a SteelPannist.

Mike King Jr:How did you become interested in the SteelPans & how long have you been playing?
Jon Scales: I started playing pan my freshman year of college (August 2002). I went to Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. There is a great steel pan program there, ran by Dr. Scott Meister, called the Steely Pan Steel Band.  No one expects that in the mountains of North Carolina! I entered the school to study music composition & theory and played saxophone as my main instrument. The steel band at the school has an open audition every year and I made the cut!  From there, I was hooked. I spent a lot more time in the panyard than practicing for my saxophone lessons.
MKJ: What was the inspiration in making the video for “Muddy Vishnu”? Is this the 1st high quality video featuring a SteelPan Musician? Who directed the video?

JS: Well, first, the title “Muddy Vishnu” comes from a stylistic mix between the blues legend Muddy Waters and the ’70s jazz/rock fusion band Mahavishnu Orchestra.  It was fun to write.  As far as the inspiration for MAKING the video…I’ll have to say i’m influence equally from pop culture as well as jazz & classical composition; the video is definitely my pop culture influence showing up! I have this crazy idea that I can somehow be a SteelPan Jazz Rock Star! I thought the video would also be a good way to expose people to my work in the same way that major label artists release videos when they come out with a new album.  As far as the 1st…man I don’t know about that!  I’m not trying to make any bold claims.

The video was directed by Daniel Judson. (See his work at danieljudson.com) Check out “Muddy Vishnu” here:

MKJ: What is the inspriration for your latest project, “Character Farm & other Short Stories”?

JS: My friend Roy “Futureman” Wooten (Grammy-award winning percussionist for Bela Fleck) had some long talks to me about “Long Form”…which is just the idea of making one grand musical statement as opposed to just throwing together a collection of songs.  Now i’m not saying that “Character Farm” is the perfect example of what he meant, but it was my attempt to get closer to that concept.  The 9 original tunes are packaged together as a group of short stories that each have an illustration in the liner notes to help the audience get a better idea of what i’m thinking in my mind about each piece.  So it kinda comes together like a comic book…but instead of reading words with each picture, there is music.  Digital downloads won’t do it justice!  The packaging helps bring the music to life.

. . .   . . .   . . .
MKJ: How would you describe your music arrangement style?

JS: That’s a tough one!  Well…a lot of people find my music to be complicated or complex.  I think I use a lot of “advanced” rhythmic ideas that people don’t hear on a daily basis.  I mess around a lot with different time signatures and polyrhythmic phrasing.  Also I steer slightly away from traditional harmonic and melodic ideas.  So I guess you could say I try to take opposing and contrasting harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic ideas, mix ’em together and really focus on how to make that work on the SteelPans with my band backing me up.  My writing background is heavily influenced by 20th century modern classical composers like John Cage, Igor Stravinsky and Charles Ives; who were all known for writing some crazy “out there” types of music!  I use a lot of their techniques, but writing on top of groove-based drums really ties it together and makes it assessable.

For more information on Jon Scales Fourchestra: Music, Tour and CD’s visit his official site at:  Jon Scales

TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE WITH SEVERAL MORE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS, VISIT: http://www.caisosteelband.com/2011/04/jonathan-scales-steelpan-jazz-rock-star-1.html

Read Full Post »

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.”

. . .    . . .    . . .

“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.”

. . .    . . .    . . .
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

Read Full Post »