Scott Kinsey Group

Well, the stars finally aligned and I managed to be in Los Angeles at the same time that the Scott Kinsey Group performed. As long-time visitors of Zawinul Online may know, I’ve been a fan Scott’s going back to his work with Tribal Tech–especially their last two albums, Thick and Rocket Science–and his work on Gary Willis’ two solo albums, No Sweat and Bent. Those Willis albums are underrated gems. No longer in print, they are available as downloads from Willis’ web site, and I highly recommend that you check them out if you haven’t already. Earlier this year Scott released his first album under his own name, Kinesthetics, which I wrote about in an previous post.

Scott regularly performs around L.A. and I’ve been wanting to catch him live for some time. Fortunately, I got to see him last week at The Baked Potato, a small club that has been a fixture on the L.A. jazz scene for years and regularly features fusion artists (for lack of a better term). The night I was there Kinsey’s group consisted of regular bassist Jimmy Earl; Steve “Tav” Tavaglione on saxes, flute and EWI; and Marvin “Smitty” Smith, in his first performance with Kinsey.

Scott is really doing some cool stuff. He’s sometimes compared to Zawinul–something I’ve done myself. But I wouldn’t say that he emulates Zawinul, as Scott has established his own voice. Rather, he captures Joe’s spirit in many ways. His creative use of sound and electronic keyboards is one example, and his use of grooves and rhythmic elements is another.

Scott has had an ongoing musical relationship with Tavaglione going back at least to the Willis albums, and the two have developed a real chemistry. (Check out “Wishing Tree” on Kinesthetics for an example of their live improvisations.) Tavaglione’s work on EWI is particularly creative, and after hearing him play it live, I remain perplexed as to why the EWI isn’t used by more players.

L.A. is lucky to have Kinsey, and Zawinul fans in the area would do well to check him out. Tomorrow night he will be performing at La Va Lee Jazz Club in Hollywood with Tavaglione and Earl, drummer Kirk Covington, and Arto Tunçboyaciyan–a name that should be familiar to Zawinul fans. Wish I could be there for that one!

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