Best of 2019 #33: R. Scott – “Ghosts of Merced”


Ghosts of Merced is a quality example of the genre-blending common to the modern jazz scene, where the lines between old-school and new-school jazz are as blurred as they are between jazz, minimalism, rock, chamber, folk and any other influence that seems right in the moment.  But this ephemeral quality can live also as metaphor, and perhaps also intent.  R.Scott’s tribute to his San Joaquin roots is a sonic representation of the life lived on that soil, and life is nothing if not blurred lines of personality and actions and dreams that drive the ineffable equation of “who am I.”  It’s also a recording with deep dives into pools of melody and a rhythmic chatter that ranges from the susurrant to excited chatter.  Chris Schlarb contributes to this recording, and he and Scott are clearly birds of a feather, as Ghosts of Merced harken back to the early Psychic Temple recordings.

Your album personnel:  R. Scott (acoustic piano, Hammond organ, Moog Prodigy synthesizer, Panasonic Panapet transistor radio), Nic Chaffee (trumpet), Danny Frankel (drums, percussion), Philip Glenn (violin), Chris McCarthy (cello), Gabriel “Slam” Nobles (marimba, vibraphone), Alex Sadnik (alto sax), Jeff Schwartz (double bass), Anthony Shadduck (electric bass), Charles Sharp (baritone sax, bass clarinet) and Garrit Tillman (drums).

Released on Orenda Records.

Music from Long Beach, CA.

I wrote about this album for The Bandcamp Daily.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon