The Scenic Route Trio’s Debut LP Shows The Group’s Road Is Likely Very Long

Courtesy: Dr. Jazz Operations

Late this past July, up-and-coming jazz bassist Ollie Dudek and his friends Javier Santiago and Genius Wesley (at least that is the name given on the album) released their debut album Flight of Life under the moniker of The Scenic Route Trio.  The 62-minute presentation is a strong start for the group, as is evidenced by the featured arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The songs’ sequencing works with that content to add to the record’s appeal.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted does its own part to keep Flight of Life engaging and entertaining from start to end.  All things considered, they make the record a promising sign for the Scenic Route Trio’s future.

The Scenic Route Trio’s recently released debut album, Flight of Life is a positive first outing for the group.  It shows real promise for the trio’s future.  That is due in no small part to the record’s featured arrangements.  The arrangements in question feature elements of bop and smooth jazz from one to the next, both modern and vintage.  Sometimes, those two influences even cross paths within the course of the song, such as in the record’s midpoint, ‘Dreamscape’ and its finale, ‘Children of the Sun.’  The way in which the trio blends those influences, transitioning so smoothly from one style to another, is truly an impressive feat.  A track, such as ‘The Optimist’ meanwhile is full on bop.  One might even argue that it is a bit of a hard bop style composition.  According to information provided, this arrangement is meant as a reminder to try one’s best to look for that proverbial silver lining even in the most difficult times.  Getting off topic here, the copy of this album provided to this critic is a promotional copy and the noted information is provided separately.  It is not known if that same information is provided with the album, considering the cover art is just a simple insert in this copy.  Hopefully the retail version has the information for each song.  Getting back on topic, Santiago’s light but still energetic performance on piano and Wesley’s solid time keeping and solos work so well alongside Dudek’s bass work to put any listener in a positive mood even on a cloudy day.

On another note, ‘Outta Somewhere,’ one of the album’s late entries, is a more direct cool jazz piece.  Dudek (who founded the trio) and his fellow musicians make this song just as enjoyable as the album’s other works. Even though Dudek founded the trio, this song is more proof that he had no intention of being the star.  He acts completely as a supporting musician here alongside Wesley, while Santiago leads the way with his gentle, flowing performance on the piano.  Dudek’s work on bass gives the song such a nice, rich touch as he works alongside Santiago.  Wesley, meanwhile, gives the song just enough, too, as he gently glides his brushes against the snare and keeps time with the hi-hat.  It is just one more example of how much these original compositions have to offer.  Between the cool jazz and bop, and the mix thereof, the arrangements offer so much to enjoy.  They are just one part of what makes this record successful.  The songs’ sequencing adds its own touch to the presentation.

The sequencing of this record shows real direct thought and consideration throughout its body, which run just over an hour.  The album starts in energetic fashion in ‘The Optimist’ before getting slightly more relaxed in ‘Flight of Kawan,’ which is a tribute to Dudek’s son.  The initial take of ‘Children of the Sun’ pulls things back even more with a gentle Latin vibe that is driven mainly by Santiago’s work on piano.  From there, the trio picks the energy back up in ‘Pandemia.’  Its energy carries through to ‘Fog Waltzin’ before the group pulls back again ‘Dreamscape.’  While the arrangement starts out relaxed, it gradually picks back up in itself.  ‘Outta Somewhere’ pulls things back once more, showing again, the direct thought put into the album’s sequencing.  From here, the album’s energy rises and falls just enough to keep listeners engaged and entertained right to the record’s end.  That clear attention to detail in the songs’ energies shows how much time and thought went into sequencing the record so as to offer the best experience possible for audiences.  The same applies in looking at how the record was sequenced in regards to the mix of bop and smooth jazz featured throughout the record.  Overall, the record’s sequencing ensures that things are kept interesting from beginning to end, taking the songs’ content into full account in the process.  The result is that the sequencing proves just as important to this album’s presentation as the record’s songs.  It is just one more part of what makes the album stand out.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to that presentation.

Flight of Life’s production is so important because of the variances in the album’s arrangements.  As noted, some songs present some bop influence.  Others present some cool jazz styles and sounds.  Some even combine the two within.  That means that the fullest attention had to be paid to each arrangement.  That is exactly what was done here, too.  From one song to the next, no one musician’s part outweighed that of his band mate.  Dudek’s bass lines and Genius’ light time keeping are just present enough throughout.  They compliment Santiago’s work on piano expertly in each work, too.  The trio comes together in each work to make each song so full and rich.  When the impact of the album’s production is considered along with the impact of the arrangements and their sequencing, the whole comes together to make Flight of Life a successful first offering from The Scenic Route Trio.  It gives hope that the road for this group is long.

The Scenic Route Trio’s debut album, Flight of Life, is a strong first offering from the up-and-coming jazz outfit.  It offers much for audiences to appreciate, beginning with its featured arrangements.  The arrangements in question vary from one to the next, blending elements of bop and cool jazz throughout.  The sequencing thereof adds its own touch to the record.  That is because it makes clear that those behind the record’s creation thought about the best way to make the album proceed and keep listeners engaged and entertained.  The album’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  It ensures each musician’s line compliments the others in each song.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of this album.  All things considered, they make the album overall a positive start to the group’s hopefully long career.

Flight of Life is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.crosscurrentsjazz.com.  

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