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Initial Wisdom by Scott Colley

Bassist Scott Colley is becoming better known in jazz circles for all the right reasons. Possessing a rich, natural, and understated woody tone, Colley has provided seasoned leaders such as Jim Hall, Andrew Hill, and Michael Brecker with a solid foundation and imaginative low-register countermelodies. Colley turns in a fine performance as a leader on "Initial Wisdom."

The band kicks off with "The Susser," a dark-themed backbeat tune that features guitarist Rogers developing a nice solo with more than a few nods to John Scofield. Ravi Coltrane contributes a nice melody statement with overdubbed tenor and soprano sax on "Scorpios" before Rogers comes in with some motivic pattern-based shredding with a clean guitar tone. Ravi takes part two of the tune with a soprano sax solo that makes one imagine a somewhat restrained Trane-the-elder.

It’s not at all evident that Colley is the leader of this recording - the emphasis is on the ensemble and shared soloing. It bears mention that Bill Stewart sounds less like Bill Stewart than in any setting in which I’ve heard him - I couldn’t pick him out as the drummer on this one in a blindfold test. Nonetheless, he lends tasty support as always.

Ornette Coleman’s "Alpha" finds Rogers laying out with the others launching into full-swing. Colley builds good excitement herein, and Coltrane leads the chase admirably, proving that he is coming into his own as a soloist.

Five of the nine tracks are Colley originals, and are good compositions and vehicles for the band, if not particularly memorable. My favorite track might be his "Eccentric Circles," in which Ravi takes a vigorous solo and Colley follows with one that sounds like what Wayne Shorter might play were he a bassist. "Initial Wisdom" is a wonderful showcase for a bassist who I hope will continue making great music as an empathetic sideman and a generous leader.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Scott Colley
  • CD Title: Initial Wisdom
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Palmetto Records
  • Tracks: The Susser, Scorpios, Far Rockaway, Alpha, Trip, Trouble in Paradise, Barracudas, Eccentric Circles, Rubber Clock
  • Musicians: Scott Colley – b, Adam Rogers – g, Ravi Coltrane – sax, Bill Stewart – dr
  • Rating: Four Stars
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