Scott McLemore – The Multiverse: Knowing
(Bandcamp – link below : Review by Peter Slavid)
Fans of guitar jazz may well already be familiar with Scott McLemore‘s previous Multiverse album, which also used this interesting two-guitar format to deliver a very melodic album.
This is about as multinational as a group can get. McLemore is an American drummer based in Iceland. Hilmar Jensson is an Icelandic guitarist. David Dorůžka was born in Prague. Nico Moreaux is French double bass player.
This music was recorded in Prague during a European tour in 2021.
McLemore has been prolific since moving to Iceland. This is his fourth album as leader, but he has also played on ten albums by his partner, the fine pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs, as well as on a number of other albums as a sideman.
The music here is gentle and melodic with several ballads and quality playing which is intricate, but without histrionics.
The first and last tracks have particular significance. The album opens with a gentle and slightly melancholy melody titled, like the album, Knowing. McLemore describes it: “It is about finding out that I am autistic, but it’s also knowing better how to care for myself. Of course, it’s hard to ascribe so much meaning to instrumental music but this is what was going on when I wrote the song and it preoccupied much of my mental bandwidth. Composing, it turns out, is a major component of wellness for me”. He tells how he finally opened up about his autism to the other band members during the recording, and how liberating that was.
The closing track Waltz for J.A. is a dreamy and slightly sad ballad, dedicated to John Abercrombie. He was a musician that McLemore played alongside on a few occasions, but who was always an inspiration. You can hear his influence throughout the album as well as from other obvious candidates such as Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny.
The album is available now on Bandcamp. CD and Vinyl will follow in the next few months.
Peter Slavid broadcasts a programme of European Jazz on mixcloud.com/ukjazz and various internet stations
Hilmar Jensson / David Dorůžka – guitars. Nico Moreaux – bass. Scott McLemore – drums