Magazine Sixty Music Review with Scanner & Neil Leonard

Greg Fenton reviews Scanner & Neil Leonard – The Berklee Sessions – Alltagsmusik

Why resist the temptation to state the obvious? Especially given that it involves the word Jazz. If any excuse is needed to provoke a reaction then this articulate genre is forever ready. Indeed, Jazz is a most beautiful word for a myriad of reasons. One of which is that it retains the power to irk some people. Compelled by its long history of resistance its resilience has always made it one of the most important sources of music that inspiration can readily draw from to replenish and inform, from the perspective of history to the immediacy of the split-second.

That said, The Berklee Sessions provide an amalgamation of ideas translating into the language of improvisation and momentary responses into Art. Recorded back in 2014 there is no time like the present to release this formation of musical ideas into the ether and see what happens. For me, the interplay between the electronics, punctuating drums, bass, and horns delights in newfound measure. You can hear how notes are formed and most importantly what comes next in real time, alongside hints of uncertainty adding to the expectation and tension inherent within live performance. It’s also to be found in the stretch of what constitutes Jazz and what is accommodated into its fold. From the night-time atmosphere of grainy cinema or the nostalgic whisper of words to the more colourful excess of psychedelia, to the edgy or life-affirming all points are referenced, touched upon, and then exercised. This is neatly captured by the album’s first track, Time Code as modular twists are greeted by brisk, shuffling drums alongside fiery horns, vigorous bass guitar, and likewise electric guitar.

Either way, Scanner alongside Neil Leonard (Soprano and alto saxophones, bass clarinet, and live electronics) plus the musical prowess of David Tronzo – Electric (slide) guitar, Mike Rivard on bass, and Dean Johnston playing drums provide a powerful document of the idea that music is a living, breathing force of nature and as an ever-evolving possibility.

Release: July 5
Download/Stream Scanner & Neil Leonard – The Berklee Sessions on Bandcamp

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