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Scott Hesse

Scott Hesse – Guitar
Makaya McCraven – Drums
Clark Sommers – Bass

Ten intriguing pieces in an intimate ambience comprise guitarist Scott Hesse’s The Stillness of Motion. The vibrantly organic music brims with spontaneity within its intricately constructed framework, occupying a space between a free blowing session and a rigidly adhered interpretation. This delightful and seamless blend of the improvised and the composed is one of the major distinguishing features of the album. The easy flow of ideas among the members of the trio while maintaining their individuality is another.

The Hesse-penned “Ravel” perfectly demonstrates the first concept. The slow simmering nocturnesque ballad opens with Hesse’s melancholic and resonant chords that gradually expand over drummer Makaya McCraven’s propulsive and martial beats and bassist Clark Sommers’ quietly determined reverberations. The tune naturally transforms to a provocative three-way extemporization before it concludes with a flawless and clever return to the main theme.

McCraven’s inventive brush patterns open “Laws of Motian,” another original that showcases the band’s elegant esprit de corps. Hesse and Sommers punctuate McCraven’s resounding monologue with brief and tense refrains. The track transforms into a lyrical and angular ensemble conversation to which Hesse contributes boppish and bluesy touches. Sommers takes a thrillingly agile and complex solo before Hesse restates the head over McCraven’s percolating rhythms. Curious mood shifts keep the record engaging without affecting its overall cohesive structure. The cinematic “Blue Sketch” features Hesses’s muscular soulful swagger and McCraven’s thunderous polyrhythms while Hesse highlights his virtuosity on the rocking “Hendrix.” His thrilling and tight acrobatics play out against McCraven’s relentless percussive drive and Sommers’ crackling bass lines.

In stimulating contrast, introspective poetry fills the contemplative “Sage.” Hesse lets loose unhurried waves of shimmering phrases while Sommers makes his strings lilt in bittersweet tones. The Stillness of Motion is an intellectually satisfying disc that is also quite melodic and accessible. Hesse and his sidemen have created a work that is simultaneously cerebral and emotive, logical and passionate. It certainly makes for a rewarding listening experience.

By: Hrayr Attarian

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