Within seconds of putting this disc on for review I knew Scott Jones had me in the palm of his hands. This guy is a monster player of the highest caliber and puts a lot of the work by the regular stalwarts of the industry to shame. With a special mention of thanks to such luminaries as Allan Holdsworth and Steve Vai, from whom he is surely influenced, Scott knows a lot about song structure, originality and style and yet manages to engage the listener with a collection of 16 brilliant songs that encompass a lot of what the best in the business often fail to deliver.
It is extremely hard to believe that for the most part, you are only listening to one musician as the drumming; the additional percussives and the overall rhythm of his songs are so brilliantly executed. Whereas many albums that use synthesized drums have that inherently cold feeling where you know intuitively, you are being tricked into thinking a real drummer is at hand, Scott sure has an amazing talent in the sequencing department as his control of this aspect of his music is so compellingly plausible. The fills, triplets and cymbal work is so convincing, crisp and accurate, you would be forgiven for thinking Steve Gadd or Lenny White was in attendance. Scott composed, recorded and mixed all songs on this album which is a strong testament to his overall ability. Although Scott is the main musician here, Bill Elrod also contributes some tasty sax work on 4 tracks to round out the overall sound.
With a solid funky, often jazzy basis upon which to concoct his appetizing brew of songs, Scott is so adept at bringing a unique and yet challenging bevy of tunes to the table for your delectation. Using a plethora of sounds from any number of instruments you want to name, this is what Allan Holdsworth should be and could be doing. His mastery of the guitar, keyboards and percussion is simply breathtaking and elicits any amount of awe one musician can have for another. The timing, structure and execution of his music is so intense and impressive and yet it possesses an emotional quality that pertains to a string of single notes that are played so delicately well and with truly professional precision. The track, "Heartland" is such a song with a degree of thoroughness in its arrangements that leave you in amazement at just how versatile this man is. Just when you thought things could not be improved upon, Scott unleashes "Eek, A Mouse" on the listener with some of the most amazing amount of compelling chops and time changes I have heard in eons.
If you have a penchant for music that rewards the listener who accepts the challenge proffered from a truly talented musician and who knows no boundaries to the inventiveness and originality to which his songs can aspire, then you will need to add his name to your wants list immediately. This is without doubt the best jazz/rock/fusion album I have heard in over 3 years and will be in heavy rotation on my CD player for a long time to come. This comes with my highest recommendation for a brilliant release that surely heralds the arrival of a name synonymous with the biggest names in the game. For anyone into Brand X, Lenny White, Allan Holdsworth, Return To Forever, Steve Vai, Janne Schaffer, Mastermind or Nathan Mahl, you can do no wrong with this one.