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Posts Tagged ‘jonathan Scales’

New Lingua Musica Episode: Erin Scholze from Dreamspider Publicity talks with Jonathan Scales Fourchestra at The Musicians Workshop on Merrimon Ave. in Asheville, NC in July 2011. Daniel Judson filmed and edited this video which is copyright Luminescence LLC 2011 and may be used as long as proper credit is given.
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Jonathan Scales has been called a “…rising star of the steel drums…” by Traps Magazine and “The Real Deal” by Pan on the Net and as having “A Thelonius Monk-like attitude with a Mozart creativity that works.” Premier Steel Pan magazine, When Steel Talks states , “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.”

In this episode of Lingua Musica, Jonathan Scales discusses how he came about his style of Steel Pan. Also hear more about his new album, Character Farm & Other Short Stories, which is a 45-minute dive deeper into the compositionally-twisted work. There are nine original instrumental “stories” on the album which transport listeners from the primal Jam We Did to the lush Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers. The title track Character Farm brings the audience into a chilled, ‘worldly’ ride after the frantically emotional The Longest December. Guest appearance on the record include Jeff Coffin (of Dave Matthews Band / Bela Fleck & the Flecktones), Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge (of Derek Trucks Band fame) and the dazzling work of fiddle virtuoso Casey Driessen.  Also, you will meet the cast of Characters that make up the Fourchestra: classically trained composer turned steel pan maestro and front man of the Fourchestra, Jonathan Scales, is heavily influenced by the complexity of banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck to the hustle of Jay-Z. Gritty blues guitarist, Duane Simpson, and fusion-chops bassist, Cody Wright, provide the harmonic support for Scales’ sound; while jazz/hip-hop drummer, Phill Bronson, drives the time-shifting, modern grooves. 

Scales, along with fimmaker Daniel Judson, produced an insightful Music Video for the song Muddy Vishnu; snippets of the music video are shown in the interview. Watching Muddy Vishnu is “almost like a Being John Malkovich set inside Scales’ own world of found rhythms, visions, colors, friends, inspirations and rare silence,” writes Asheville’s Mountain Xpress.

In this episode of Lingua Musica, Scales’s also talks about the album’s comic book-inspired images, designed by Gregory Keyzer, that tie together the musical fusion of his Fourchestra. “There’s a different illustration for every song,” Scales says in an interview with Robin Tolleson in Bold Life. “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.”

Character Farm, along with a glossy 19 x 13 poster depicting the custom designed comic book graphics illustrating each song are available at www.jonscales.com.

This video was brought to you by Lingua Musica: Where Music is the Universal Language…


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Here’s a great review of a recent Jonathan Scales Fourchestra show at the Rockwood Music Hall in NYC:

… I was able to catch the Asheville, North Carolina-based genre mashing act, the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, who were ironically enough for this show at least, a trio, and not a quartet. Their material centered on rhythm and percussion as the band was comprised of a steel drummer, a drummer and a bassist. As Scales joked on more than one occasion, you weren’t going to hear some stereotypical calypso covers – or calypso-styled standards. Instead what we all heard was some jazz fusion that at time owed a heavy debt to bands such as Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra and several others but with a playful, goofy, mischievous air, while being quite funky. The steel drum played the unusual role of simultaneously setting the melody and rhythm, pulling the song forward, which allowed their drummer to play with unusual and angular jazz syncopation. And to be honest, it was truly novel (which is something I don’t say too often). When Scales mentioned that one of their original compositions was influenced by Mahavishnu Orchestra and Muddy Waters, I was probably the only one who actually knew who he was talking about, and in a way I found that kind of sad. (For some reason Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever have been mostly forgotten and I think that’s fucking shameful. But that’s another issue for another time.) On a certain level, I wasn’t completely convinced that the audience actually got them or their sound – you would be amazed by the lack of sophistication that occurs at live shows across the city – but they certainly won me over. I found myself intrigued by their unique sound and I hope to see them in town sometime soon.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE and SEE PHOTOS HERE: http://thejoyofviolentmovement.tumblr.com/post/8566415853/the-jonathan-scales-fourchestra-and-joe-fletcher-and

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Photo by Bren Dendy. Illustrations by Gregory Keyzer.

Jonathan Scales played the Elbo Room in Chicago last Saturday. Here is a review from SouthSide on the Town.

[Jonathan Scales] combined the best of two music worlds – the ultra smooth sounds of jazz rhythms and vibrant energy of rock with the cool taste of the Caribbean into a deliciously sounding performance. This unique attraction not only captivated this reviewer’s attention but the entire audience as well. Steel pannist Jonathan Scales brought his rockin’ Fourchestra band (however it was a trio for his Elbo Room appearance) and its rockin’ music that featured intricately woven melodies and notes off his steel drums and the lively momentum of rock and jazz together. Throughout the opening set, this oddly mesh of sounds and rhythms retained a pleasurable vibe as well as a danceable groove for anyone adventurous enough to do so.

SouthSide thoroughly enjoyed hearing such creative floetry within Jonathan’s epic yet poetic compositions in which, if listened closely, one could hear the fierce intensity (and at times, emotionally charged) “vocals” within the lyrics even though there weren’t any actual lyrics to be humanly sung. That was, in SouthSide’s opinion, the beauty of this artist’s music. It was an awe-inspiring experience for this reviewer to hear the “lyrics” spoken directly (and indirectly) amongst the instruments during certain points of his songs. For example, during one particular song, she could vividly hear the fiery “spoken” words between the drum kit versus the steel drums and bass combined and then vice versa drums (steel and percussion) versus bass.

She also enjoyed another particular song featuring an interesting combination of sudden/abrupt dramatic bursts and pauses that grabbed her immediate attention. Jonathan’s rhythmic island/jazz/rock sound was dazzling …spellbounding that no one in the basement lounge dared move a muscle until the performance concluded.

SouthSide highly recommends spending your warm summer nights amidst the cool rockin’ sounds of this island-jazz breeze by Jonathan Scales. And just a small reminder, blogspot readers, he doesn’t do Jimmy Buffet songs. Visit http://www.jonscales.com for more information and music by this artist and his Fourchestra.

Read the full review here: http://southsideonthetown.blogspot.com/2011/07/02-jul-11.html

The band also interviewed on Fearless Radio before their show that evening. Listen to the full podcast of the interview at this link: http://fearlessradio.com/index.php/new-music-binge/2832-jonathon-scales-fourchestra-070211.html

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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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I am thrilled to announce jazz/ rock Steel-Pannist Jonathan Scales is touring around his album release with a few shows opening up for classically trained pop cellist Ben Sollee this June!

Ben Sollee is a genre-bending cellist and vocalist who released his new album “Inclusions” on May 10th. Armed with a cello, Sollee is canvassing the country, sometimes by bicycle, imploring folks to rediscover the connections between music, art, film, dance, their community, and personal relationships. American Songwriter states, “Inclusions is a thoughtful and thoroughly imaginative album about what a huge and complicated undertaking it is to truly relate to other human beings, what with all our mismatches in expectations and differences in background, experience and belief.”

Jonathan Scales has been called a “…rising star of the steel drums…” by Traps Magazine, while Pan on the Net refers to him as “the Real Deal” and having “A Thelonius Monk-like attitude with a Mozart creativity that works.”  When Steel Talks sums it up with, “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.” Like Sollee, Scales is also touring around a new release “Character Farm & Other Short Stories” which features guest appearances by Jeff Coffin (of Dave Matthews Band/Bela Fleck & the Flecktones), Yonrico Scott & Kofi Burbridge (of Derek Trucks Band), and fiddle virtuoso Casey Driessen. “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,” declares Exclaim.CA.

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Jonathan Scales and his Fourchestra will be opening for Sollee on:

Friday, June 3 ~ Old Rock House ~ St. Louis, MO
Saturday, June 4 ~ White Rabbit Cabaret ~ Indianapolis, IN
Sunday, June 5 ~ 20th Century Theater ~ Cincinnati, OH

Click the Pics to Get the Albums Today:

Ben Sollee Inclusions

Jonathan Scales Character Farm and Other Short Stories



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Called the “SteelPan Jazz Rock Star” by the Caiso Steel Band, Jonathan Scales is brings this traditional Caribbean instrument into the uncharted territories filled with jazz/rock metric complexities for the modern ear. Fresh into a new release of his third album, Character Farm & Other Short Stories, Jonathan Scales tours in Tennessee this May!

The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra is fronted by classically trained composer turned steel pan maestro, Jonathan Scales, who is heavily influenced by the complexity of banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck to the hustle of Jay-Z. Gritty blues guitarist, Duane Simpson, and fusion-chops bassist, Cody Wright, provide the harmonic support for Scales’ sound, while jazz/hip-hop drummer, Phill Bronson, drives the time-shifting, modern grooves. The cast of Characters hold this mind-bending concoction together with jazz edge and classical sensibility.

Come to the Fourchestra’s free ‘teaser’ set at The Basement on Tuesday, May 17th and let yourself boil over in anticipation for Friday the 20th’s show at the French Quarter Cafe, where they play a double bill with Nashville’s own steel pan master, Tony Hartman, and his band The Great Barrier Reefs. The Fourchestra also plays just 45 minutes away in Mufreesboro on Thursday, May 19th.
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,” states The Boone Mountain Times.

The album is a 45-minute dive deeper into the compositionally-twisted work of steel pannist Jonathan Scales. The nine original instrumental “stories” on the album take listeners from the primal Jam We Did to the lush Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers. The title track Character Farm takes the audience into a chilled, ‘worldly’ ride after the frantically emotional The Longest December. Guest appearance on the record include Jeff Coffin (of Dave Matthews Band / Bela Fleck & the Flecktones), Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge (of Derek Trucks Band fame) and the dazzling work of fiddle virtuoso Casey Driessen.

“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,” declares Kevin Jones from Exclaim.CA.

Show Details at a Glance:

Tues, May 17 ~ The Basement ~ Nashville

Thurs, May 19 ~ Liquid Smoke ~ Murfreesboro

Fri, May 20 ~ The French Quarter Cafe w/ The Great Barrier Reefs ~ Nashville

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Scales’ created a wonderful  Music Video for the song “Muddy Vishnu” from the album:

“…the visual for steel pan player Jonathan Scales’ “Muddy Vishnu” is almost like a Being John Malkovich set inside Scales’ own world of found rhythms, visions, colors, friends, inspirations and rare silence.” – Alli Marshall, Asheville’s Mountain Xpress


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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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