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 Jonathan Scales is Still a “Bad Man” - Strike That - Fourchestra are all still “Bad Men” at the Knitting Factory

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra at the Knitting Factory, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Jonathan Scales/Fourchestra at the Knitting Factory

Brooklyn, New York, USA - It seems like it was only yesterday when WST (When Steel Talks) first saw Jonathan Scales on a double second pan perform live for the first time at the Shine in  Harlem. The event was back in the year 2009. In fact it was early that year WST did a review of his CD “Plot/Scheme” and introduced the name Jonathan Scales to the WST audience. And in 2011 Jonathan brought his act to the people with a live concert in Brooklyn’s Pantonic Steel Orchestra’s panyard.

This past Monday, When Steel Talks caught a live performance of The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra at the trendy bar and performance venue known as ‘The Knitting Factory’ in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Indeed, after our first live take of Jonathan Scales and Fourchestra in 2009 WST wrote in our review - “We are talking about a Thelonious Monk-like attitude with a Mozart creativity that works.” That he, Jonathan Scales’ instrument of choice is the steelpan is important but it is not the whole story. His music is.

He still reminds us of Monk. He is still smashing the accepted and expected norms of the steelpan instrument. Moreover he is still challenging the musical borders but now many, many more people know who Fourchestra are and are clear what’s going on - it’s simply Jonathan Scales and Fourchestra music. Impeccable musicianship and storytelling operating on whiz kids level. Fourchestra stretches the field and imagination to it limits sometimes leaving the galaxy. And then they will drop a Seal cover like Kiss From A Rose in a way only Fourchestra can, and you see the “wow” factor on the faces of the audience.

And then there is bassist Cody Wright; he is special. His solo rendition of Blackbird by The Beatles was off the hook. Add Phil Bronson on drums to the mix—who by the way was simply outstanding—and you’ve got a dangerous musical crew who can do anything, but don’t care to or have to. Bronson’s rhythmic read and spirit is so on, he can play the angles and work the blind spots. This is something WST has only witnessed and experienced live by legendary drummer Max Roach.

We are quite fortunate that The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra are from the planet Earth, because if they were Martians it would be all over. Good night.

Do yourself a favor; make sure you catch The Fourchesta the next time they are in your vicinity.

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