Based in Asheville, NC, the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra have developed a reputation in their home stage and across the country for their 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 and melody, freeing drummer, Phill Bronson to attack his drum kit with unusual syncopation that manages to show elements of cocky, hip hop swagger and cool, bop jazz. And let’s not forget, Cody Wright, one of the most talented bassists I’ve seen in recent memory, brings to mind another young talented jazz bassist — Jaco Pastorius. Wright’s bass lines are dexterous and funky.
The band’s forthcoming, self titled album, which officially drops on July 9th shows increasing growth both in the compositions and musicianship — the compositions on the new album are just as complex as ever but they manage to be more cinematic and somehow more playful, as though they can easily be part of the score for a large ensemble style comedy. At other times, the material has a stunning beauty that’s balanced with bits of funk, bop-era jazz and others. Also the album marks a unique collaboration with two members of Bela Fleck’s band — Howard Levy and Victor Wooten for a couple of songs, which brings a different energy to the material.
“Contortionist Ballet” the latest single off the album is a fitting name for the composition as it twists and turns like an Olympic gymnast. You’ll hear that the composition is composed of several distinct parts moving in a complex movement, while retaining a sense of humor.