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Posts Tagged ‘Long Form’

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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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

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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.

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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

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