The steel pan, an amazing musical discovery born in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad & Tobago, is often times associated with sandy beaches, tropical climates, and cruise ships: that's not exactly what you get at a show by the jazz/rock outfit, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra. Driftwood Magazine says "Scales is to steel pans ….what Bela Fleck is to the banjo—an über innovator." The group is said to have "a Thelonius Monk-like attitude with a Mozart creativity that works." (Pan on the Net)
Here you have, Jonathan Scales: a classically trained composer turned steel pan maestro who takes in influences from Igor Stravinsky to Kanye West and uses every element in between as a basis for his mind-bending compositions. Cody Wright’s technical yet melodic style on the bass pulls from masters Bobby Vega & Jaco Pastorius. His pick-style provides the harmonic foundation for Scales’ sound, while his solos leave audiences awestruck. Drummer Phill Bronson drives the Fourchestra’s time-shifting, modern grooves with a style stemming from his extensive background as a percussionist. He fuses his upbringing with his training, gracefully maneuvering through Jonathan’s complex rhythmic structures. The Fourchestra is a true mix of jazz edge and classical sensibility.
Steel pannist and virtuoso composer, Jonathan Scales, formed his 'Fourchestra' in 2007 as a means to deliver his musically complex, but somehow accessible ideas to anyone willing to listen. The latest installment in his musical saga, Character Farm & Other Short Stories, is a 45-minute dive deeper into the compositionally-twisted work of steel pannist . The nine original instrumental "stories" on the album take listeners from the primal Jam We Did to the lush Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers. The title track Character Farm takes the audience into an instrumental-fairy-tale of sorts, after the frantically emotional The Longest December. Guest appearances on the record include Jeff Coffin (of Dave Matthews Band), Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge (of Derek Trucks Band fame) and the dazzling work of fiddle virtuoso Casey Driessen.
"At the end of the day, Scales is going to be a major play in rewriting the books on steelpan music outside of the box." (When Steel Talks)