The contemporary sound is strong in this sparkling, eponymous debut from new European quartet Scopes, led by Austrian drummer Mathias Ruppnig and German bassist Tom Berkmann.Available on CD and High quality, 180 gram, 12” LP - comes with download code containing the digital album in multiple formats (released 26.04.2019).
Originally meeting up when based in New York for several years, performing there in various projects with French pianist/keyboardist Tony Tixier, they created the basis of a striking collaboration completed by acclaimed Dutch alto saxophonist Ben van Gelder.
Their roots in jazz tradition are evident, yet Scopes’ quest for a “sense for the pulse time” has shaped a young, sleek sound world incorporating wider influences - a melting pot of original, melodic composition and improvisation infused with textural synthscapes and liquescent sax. It’s a confidently joyous partnership, Tom Berkmann describing their band name as “a frame inside which we can be endlessly creative - a ‘musical playground’ where we are able to open up in different ways.”
The freshness of Ruppnig’s “Echo of Their Own Prejudices” is a great indicator of the environments which the band inhabit, an ebullient groove underpinning van Gelder’s characteristically mellow, tumbling tones, complemented by Tixier’s portamento synth lines and rapid piano runs. Other tracks include the almost Weather Reportian sax-and-synth pairing in eager “Balance”. The analogous swan-like atmospheres in “Whistle” find Ruppnig providing its percussively busy undercurrent as synth auras glide over, contrasted by the seductive samba-swing of “Alter Ego”.