Many can talk the talk - but few can walk the walk. Panist Jonathan Scales without a doubt is ‘walking the walk.’ On his sophomore release called Plot/Scheme, Scales takes the listener not only into unexpected territory, but clearly uncharted real-estate. The fact that he takes us there with the steelpan instrument navigating the journey - is all the more fascinating.
All notions of an island-like, ‘smiley, smiley’ facade are dashed from the onset. His compositions take us through the full gamut of emotions, colors, modes and attitudes of the human experience coupled with social commentary. Humor, sadness, anxiety, joy, rage, horror, confusion, love and surprise - are just a few of the expressions Scales delivers on the double seconds with awesome clarity and control. Jonathan Scales is dropping serious musical conversation.
Although he is only in his early twenties, there is a maturity and deliberate delivery in his style that make you sit back and say “Yes, I hear ya.” Moreover, he already understands that just because ‘I can,’ is not reason to do something musically, particularity in the jazz idiom. However, he persistently challenges the expected/accepted norms.
Jonathan’s touch, command and ability to state his melodies with scary evenness, intelligibility and musical judiciousness - put him on a level not easily attained, and therefore in a class not open, to all steelpan players.
Jonathan Scales clearly has something to say - and he is letting his talent and pan instrument do the talking. There are many pretenders, but double second pan player Jonathan Scales is The Real Deal.
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