Global - A while back When Steel Talks declared Jonathan Scales a “bad man,” after reviewing his CD Plot/Scheme and checking him out at a live concert at the ‘The Shrine’ in Harlem, New York, back in 2009. And as the years have passed When Steel Talks has had several more encounters with him. Nothing has changed in our opinion of Jonathan Scales. He has utilized the talent we saw in him brilliantly, and he has continued to realize his full potential as composer, performer and leader of his group the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra - as the world has now tuned in fully to his channel. He’s better, more mature, experienced and confident but Jonathan remains just as imaginative, cutting-edge and silently musically opinionated without being pretentious or obnoxious. His music does all his talking.
Fresh off a landmark gig at SubCulture in New York and with his fifth CD “Mixtape Symphony” slated for its May 2014 release, When Steel Talks sat down to share just who is this non-traditionalist, non-conformist, game-changing steelpan musician called Jonathan Scales, and to speak on the man, his past, his music and his vision.
In this UpClose When Steel Talks exclusive interview, here is Jonathan’s story in his own words.
“Mixtape Symphony” in review
Going boldly where no one has gone before with Pan, Bass and Drums. Oh yeah, with Jonathan Scales at the helm - Fourchestra takes the listener on a fantastic musical journey filled with twists, turns and surprises at every turn. And yes, they happily violate the prime directive at every chance. They speak in many languages, tones and colors, as Funk, Soul, Rock, Blue Grass, Blues, Classical and Jazz among others - get turned sideways and upside down - rhythmically, melodically and harmonically. Fourchestra plays with your sensibilities as you are at times mesmerized and drawn into the musicians’ stories, as the listener—expectedly and unexpectedly—becomes a participant, at times creating emotional reactions and nexuses that place one deep in thought.
This collection of songs is meant to be digested entirety as part of a connective thread between the movements. And in this regard, the music was listened to this way. Furthermore, we will resist the temptation to comment and analyze the movements individually. Suffice to say that the musicianship is impeccable. Cody Wright on bass and Phill Bronson on drums are outstanding, and are also “bad men,” - monster musicians in their own right. By the time you finish listening to Pink Brigade and head through Strawberry Bang it will be obvious that these cats are operating on another level and Jonathan Scales continues to be a ‘bad man.’ And this trio enters areas that are reserved for a select few, as they occasionally walk with the gods on this CD... This is the end result of what happens when you bring ‘bad men’ together.
This thought-provoking release is a critical entry in the musical life of Jonathan Scales and The Fourchestra. A must-listen. A must-have.
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