CD Review: Scott McLemore – Remote Location

Scott McLemore – Remote Location
(Sunny Sky 729. CD Review by Chris Parker)

The ‘remote location’ of this absorbing album’s title is Iceland, where US-born drummer/composer Scott McLemore lives with his pianist wife Sunna Gunnlaugs, and the carefully constructed music it contains bears every sign of having been arrived at courtesy of concentrated, undistracted application.

Along with the tastefully restrained, elegant Gunnlaugs, tenor saxophonist Óskar Gu∂jónsson provides a series of cultured solo contributions in a pleasantly dry but warm style; guitarist Andrés Thor embellishes McLemore’s intriguing and varied themes with neat but surprisingly powerful playing, and bassist Róbert Þórhallsson meshes perfectly with the leader’s supple, sensitive drumming to provide discreet but vigorous propulsiveness to all eleven tracks.

Although there are no outright blazers in this set, the album is none the less an undeniably emotional affair, its quiet intensity being of the lyrical, rather than the more showy variety. Concluding with a threnody for Paul Motian – one of McLemore’s great inspirations – which is, like many of the late great drummer’s compositions, played rubato, this is a slow-burning charmer of an album, subtle and even delicate at times, but consistently compelling and often downright bewitching.

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