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New Video: Kiss From A Rose (Seal Cover) Jonathan Scales Fourchestra

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra performs Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” on the streets of Asheville, North Carolina.

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

“The Real Deal [with] 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



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. Based in Asheville, NC, the cast of Characters holds this mind-bending concoction together with jazz edge and classical sensibility as they tour around a new album, Character Farm & Other Short Stories.

“unique compositions which not only display the amiably quirky wit and charm of the likes of Theolonius Monk and Horace Silver, but also a level of complexity behind an entirely approachable manner…Scales’ steel drum propels the compositions forward through harmony more so than rhythm and that frees Bronson to attack his drum kit with unusual syncopation that manages to show elements of cocky, hip hop swagger and cool, bop jazz.” – William Helms – The Joy of Violent Movement

Show Details at a Glance:
Jonathan Scales Fourchestra

Thursday, September 22nd
Red Door

Free admission ($5-10 suggested donation), all ages, 8pm
443 i St. NW
Washington, DC
www.reddoorloft.tumblr.com

Friday, Sept 23rd
Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 1

1am, Free, 21+
196 Allen Street
NY, NY, 10002
212-477-4155
www.rockwoodmusichall.com

Saturday, Sept 24th
The Shrine

8:00 PM, Free, All Ages
2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
New York, NY 10030
(212) 690-7807
www.shrinenyc.com


Sunday, Sept 25th
Pantonic Steel Orchestra’s Panyard

Free, All Ages
2514 Albemarle Road (between Veronica Place & Lott Street)
New York, NY (Brooklyn)
www.pantonic.com

www.JonScales.com



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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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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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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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Artwork by Gregory Keyzer

I am excited to announce Asheville’s Steel-Pannist Jonathan Scales Fourchestra is touring around their CD release with a stops in Pensacola; New Orleans; Austin; Starksville, MS; Atlanta; and Hot Springs, NC! The new album is called “Character Farm & Other Short Stories” and 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.

Scales’ created a wonderful  Music Video for the song “Muddy Vishnu” from the album, which is posted below. The album is also available to purchase on www.jonscales.com along with fun new merch including a glossy 19 x 13 poster depicting above with the custom designed comic book graphics illustrating each song with artwork by Gregory Keyzer.

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra April Tour Dates

Friday, April 22
Vinyl Music Hall
Opening for Soul Rebels Brass Band and Honey Island Swamp Band
Pensacola, FL

Saturday, April 23rd
12 Bar
New Orleans, LA

Sunday and Monday, April 24th & 25th
McCallum Theater (at McCallum High School)
Austin, TX

Tuesday, April 26th
Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern
Starkville, MS

Thursday, April 28
The Five Spot
w/ Jonathan Lloyd’s Rocksteady Review opening the show
Atlanta, GA

Saturday, April 30
French Broad River Festival
Hot Springs, NC

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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.”

. . .    . . .    . . .

“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

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Jonathan Scales Fourchestra
Casey Driessen opens the show!
Friday, April 1st, 2011
Emerald Lounge

9pm, 21+
$7 cover / $15 gets you a copy of the new album AND ticket
828.232.4372
112 N. Lexington Ave.
Asheville, NC
www.emeraldlounge.com

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. Modern Drummer Magazine recognizes, “… Jonathan Scales makes the pans fit in unconventional musical spaces…” and Jazz Times goes on to state that Scales’ brings forth a “new vitality to the traditional Caribbean instrument… picking up where Othello Molineaux left off 20 years ago with Jaco Pastorius.”

Here you have a classically trained composer turned steel pan maestro and front man of the Fourchestra, Jonathan Scales, 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.

The 3rd installment in the Jonathan Scales’ musical saga, Character Farm & Other Short Stories, 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.

Jonathan Scales has also been busy creating a NEW Music Video for the song Muddy Vishnu from the album shown above. The album is available for pre-sale through the brand new website www.jonscales.com in a variety of options through April 1st. Scales’ also got a lot of fun new merch including a glossy 19 x 13 poster depicting the custom designed comic book graphics illustrating each song with artwork by Gregory Keyzer.

19x13 poster. Full artwork for "Character Farm & Other Short Stories". Illustrations by Gregory Keyzer.

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 which features 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 Character Farm & 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.

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.”

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By: Samantha Ricketts

The Concordian, Issue date: 9/9/09 
Concord University in Athens
Media Credit: MySpace (From left) Lassiter, Hoover, Scales, and Simpson make up the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra.

Media Credit: MySpace (From left) Lassiter, Hoover, Scales, and Simpson make up the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra.

The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra entertained students Thursday night on the Subway Stage in the Student Center. Scales’s use of the steel drums provides a unique and catchy sound to the group.

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, the band is made up of four talented musicians—Ryan Lassiter on drums, Duane Simpson (originally from West Virginia) on guitar, Shannon Hoover on bass, and Jonathan Scales on the steel drums.

The Fourchestra’s music can be described as a fusion among rock, jazz, funk, reggae, and bluegrass. And the traditional Caribbean steel drums add yet another element to the style.

While the band’s songs are instrumental, they still manage to tell an intricate story. One of the songs, Scales explained, was written a couple years ago about the war. Although no words were said, his message was clear to the audience.

This inventive group left Concord students both content and impressed. Freshman Clifton Jowers comments, “It was like four different kinds of music fused into one.”

The blend of sounds was both soothing and exciting at times. The band joked that their steel drums sound nothing like Jimmy Buffett; the group truly has a sound unlike any other band.

The band currently has two CDs out: “One-Track Mind” (2007) and “Plot/Scheme” (2008).

They are playing numerous shows on the East Coast this fall, so anyone who missed out on Concord’s performance can still catch them nearby.

For more information about the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, to purchase a CD, or to see their schedule of upcoming performances, visit their myspace at http://www.myspace.com/jonathanscales.

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Written by Rob Moore Friday, 03 July 2009 14:59
Crankit Mag
www.crankitmag.com

Asheville-based Jonathan Scales Fourchestra has a uniqueness that is just theirs–steel drums and jazz. This cool combination is a product of Appalachian State’s alumnus Jonathan Scales. Taking the calypso-style (style of Afro-Caribbean music) sounds of the Caribbean steel drums, fusing then together with jazz and reggae, and putting them together is his signature. He manipulates the sound of his steel drum in ways that are refreshing, yet distinct in the island sounds.

Photo By Jon Leidel

Photo By Jon Leidel

His band is made up of Ryan Lassiter (drummer and fellow App alumnus), Duane Simpson (guitarist), and Shannon Hoover (bass). Simpson and Hoover are new to the band this year and in Jonathan’s words, “They are ripping it.”

“How do you mix the traditional Caribbean, jazz, reggae in your music?” I asked.

“Well, I’m influenced by everything I’m around, but I didn’t grow up listening to Caribbean music. I grew up like any typical kid, and when I went to college I listened to classical and modern music. That’s pretty much my musical influences,” said Scales.

He named one of his main influences as Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. He also has other influences like the Derek Trucks Band, Andy Narell, Pat Metheny, Cannonball Adderley, and Chick Corea to name a few. He has also had the opportunity to play with Jeff Sipe (most recently he has toured with Keller Williams with Moseley, Droll and Sipe and Jimmy Herring Band), Future Man, and Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck’s drummer) and and he has woven all of that influence and knowledge into some cool sounding music.

“In playing with Sipe and Coffin, what inspirational growth have these two given you to help open new musical opportunities? I asked.

“Jeff Coffin in particular is a big influence on me,” Scales said. “I actually tried to get him to play with me on the first CD and he wouldn’t do it. I learned a lot about being professional and producing quality, and the second time around he said he would do it because I proved I could step up.”

Stepping up is exactly what Scales has done. He has produced a second CD, the first being One Track Mind in 2007, titled Plot Scheme. This CD features Jeff Coffin and others, but is full of that jazz, steel drums and Caribbean flavor that’s their signature style and a “more developed sound,” according to Scales.

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra will be at Music On The Mountaintop on August 29, in Boone, N.C. He played the inaugural event last year and put on a very good show. Very refreshing. This year he will move up the totem pole to a better stage.

“What are you going to bring to the table at Music On The Mountaintop? Anything cool?” Scales was asked.

“We’ve got some new music that’s still Jonathan Scales, but some of our newer stuff seems to be edgier than it was before and I don’t know why.” Scales said. “I am also bringing my new lineup. A new and improved band.”

Well, we are looking forward to his show in Boone. He will also have a tour coming to the upstate of South Carolina in the fall so be sure to catch a show. You can catch his sound and play dates online at his MySpace, www.myspace.com/jonathanscales and www.jonscales.com.

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