Born: January 19, 1961 Primary Instrument: Piano
Born in Ithaca, New York, pianist/composer Darius Scott grew up in Boston and has been living in Baltimore since 1983. Both of his parents enjoyed music, especially jazz. As a toddler, they used to take him to The Jazz Workshop to hear the legends playing and inventing the style of music he would eventually learn to play as well. At one point during that time, he even sat on a piano bench next to Thelonious Monk. Darius didn’t begin trying to play piano until college. When an injury sidelined him from soccer for a season, he signed up for a “keyboard awareness” class and through a friend, discovered the ragtime piano music of Scott Joplin. Darius memorized several of Joplin’s rags and although he often played them repeatedly to the most accommodating of his family, friends and associates. Darius found Joplin’s music to be so enjoyable and intricate that it occupied him for several years. During that period, he developed an interest in learning more about the piano and jazz music.
Darius began to listen with renewed interest to his parents’ old jazz records and to frequent Henry Baker’s Jazz Closet on Franklin Street in Baltimore. But several years passed before he made a direct move to study jazz piano. He took lessons for about two years and performed for the first time with an ensemble in 1990.
Darius has learned from and performed with many East Coast musicians. This list is long but includes players and mentors such as Bob Butta, the late Ruby Glover, Gary Thomas, Ed Wiley Jr., Mike Carrick, Allen Houser, George V. Johnson, Fred Foss, Paul Carr, Antonio Parker, Chris Bacas, Phil Cunneff, Eric Kennedy, Sam Turner, Rudy Morales, Alex Norris, Tom and Whit Williams, Jeff Reed, Dontae Winslow, Steve Novosel, James King, Michael Thomas, Michael Hawkins, Tom Baldwin, Paul Gill, Gary Bartz and Talib Kibwe.
In 1993 Darius founded the Resolution Jazz Group, which debuted at the former Funk’s Democratic Coffee Spot in Fell’s Point. His group focuses on a straight ahead style, performing the music of such composers as Horace Silver, Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock, along with their own compositions and arrangements of jazz standards. With his group and others, Darius has performed at various local and national venues including The Kennedy Center, The Millenium Stage, Lisner Auditorium, Twins Jazz and Lounge, Blues Alley, One Step Down, HR-57 and Bohemian Caverns in D.C.; The King of France Tavern in Annapolis, Sascha’s, Caton Castle, The New Haven Lounge and An Die Musik in Baltimore; Pearl’s and Pier 23 in San Francisco, S.O.B.’s and the Bahai Center in New York City, The Balcony in Pittsburgh, Churchill Grounds and Studio 281 in Atlanta; and Dazzle and el Chapultapec in Denver. Darius has also appeared in the HBO series “The Wire” and in late 1998 he played in several scenes with Brenda Russell in Barry Levinson’s film “Liberty Heights.” Early in 2010 Darius represented the Baltimore Jazz Alliance with a performance as part of the Subtle Sessions series at Bertha’s in Fells Point.
Darius has worked regularly and recorded with several regional groups. These include a 2 year engagement with the legendary Allen Houser Quintet at Bertha's in Fell's Point, a privileged 3 years in the piano chair rotation with Baltimore's piping hot latin-jazz group Rumba Club, and 7 years as the regular pianist with a creative Baltimore jazz ensemble, the Al Maniscalco Quartet.
It is Darius' good fortune to have contunied as a regular sideman for several very busy and high quality groups in the Baltimore-Washington area. Notably with the Baltimore hard-bop quintet the Todd Butler Group, D.C.'s Popular Latin Jazz Group La Jazz, and in D.C.'s grammy nominated Michael Thomas Quintet, and is also often in the house rhythm section at HR-57 or Westminster Church in D.C. Beginning in fall of 2003, the Resolution Trio performed on most Thursday and Friday nights at Sascha's 527 in Baltimore. Please check the schedule, and come out to support the group at an upcoming event.
Continually inspired by the important role that comping plays in a solid and sensitive rhythm section, Darius has drawn heavily upon the styles of legends Horace Silver, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Bobby Timmons, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Barry Harris, Thelonious Monk as well as a host of local Baltimore and D.C. musicians who share the “joy of comping”. Although comping remains at the core of his joy behind the piano, in a continued the effort to develop his own voice on his instrument, in recent years, Darius has focused more attention on melody in an effort to develop a style within the very daunting piano, bass, drum trio format, and to always improve the groove.