Feb 122014

Scenes (Stowell/Johnson/Bishop)
. . . But Not Heard (Origin, www.origin-records.com)

Guitarist John Stowell, whose collaboration with Dave Liebman, Blue Rose, was reviewed here in December, has long worked collectively with bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop (part of Hal Galper’s trio, reviewed here last month) under the name Scenes. Guest saxophonist and flutist Hans Teuber adds an extra dimension to this new album, with both his playing and compositions (he wrote or co-wrote four of the seven songs here). Stowell is characteristically articulate throughout, whether soloing or complementing the other musicians. Johnson and Bishop have played together so long, and in different contexts, that they transcend “rhythm section” status, moving the music forward with expressiveness and taste. Teuber and Stowell’s lines intertwine on the understated opening track, “C Minor Waltz.” “Nanti Glow,” by Stowell, captures an easygoing bluesy feel. Throughout, the saxophone is warm, with more of a Getz than Coltrane feel. Bishop’s brushwork stands out on the deliberately paced “Spectrum” (by Stowell). Teuber’s flute is featured on his “Old Fellow,” a standout track with an eloquent bass solo. Highly recommended.

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