Pillar- Jonathan Scales Fourchestra

PillarTitle: Pillar

Artist: Jonathan Scales Fourchestra

Label: Ropeadope

Formats: CD, MP3

Release date: September 14, 2018


American steel pan player Jonathan Scales is about to release his next project, Pillar, with his group Fourchestra, which includes Maison Guidry (drums) and E’Lon Jordan-Dunlap (bass). Traditionally, pans are played in steelbands performing Calypso music. However, Scales places the steelpan in a contemporary environment using music genres such as jazz, fusion, hip-hop, Latin jazz, and funk, as vehicles for his creative explorations.

Pillar features many world-renowned guest artists including Victor Wooten, Béla Fleck, Jeff Coffin, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Shaun Martin, and Oteil Burbridge. On “Focus Poem,” Scales draws on Latin American and Caribbean rhythms as source materials for his underlying groove, while Fleck—an accomplished banjo player—performs a spirited banjo solo. “The Trap” places the steelpan at the center of a dynamic funk groove with complex rhythmic hits, featuring virtuosic performances by bassists Wooten and MonoNeon, the colorful and energetic sound of Scott’s trumpet, and spirited solos by Guidry and percussionist Weedie Braimah.

This album is above all intriguing, exciting, and lively. Heavily rooted in rhythm, groove, and harmony, Pillar offers sonorities that are pleasing to the ear and comforting to the soul.

Reviewed by Jamaal Baptiste