The most important and most interesting music of your life is often discovered in a serendipitous fashion – as in the case of the Asheville, NC-based Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, who I first caught when they opened for Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons on a stiflingly hot and humid summer night at Rockwood Music Hall. And over the past few years the trio of Jonathan Scales (steel pan drums), Cody Wright (bass) and Phill Bronson (drums) have proven to be one of the most playfully inventive contemporary jazz/jazz fusion bands in the country. In fact, the band’s Character Farm and Other Stories landed at number 5 on this site’s Best of 2011 list and their self-titled album, released last year was one of my favorite releases as the album’s compositions manage to be complex but they 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.
The remarkably prolific trio will be releasing a new effort soon, Mixtape Symphony and “Mississippi” is the First Movement from it. And the composition is arguably one of the most complex they’ve ever done – the track twists and turns in on itself in a dizzying, revealing beautiful passages and digressions.