With his seventh album, jazz pianist Dred Scott and his Trio deliver a hefty helping of the downtown cool that has earned them one of the most fervent followings on the New York jazz scene. Featuring upright bassist and producer Ben Rubin and drummer Tony Mason, Live at the Rockwood, out now on Ropeadope Digital, is a two-session masterpiece which documents the trio’s open-ended engagement (three years and counting) at this popular Lower East Side venue. The record includes six Dred Scott originals as well as covers of artists ranging from saxophonist Bill McHenry to Black Sabbath. All About Jazz declares: “Live at the Rockwood Music Hall is a beautiful showcase of this dynamic piano trio.”
The Dred Scott Trio delivers a cheeky change of pace from the buttoned-up shush-y vibe of the usual jazz club fare. The music itself is heady, jazzy, and deep enough to please the hardest-core jazz fan, yet remains remarkably accessible. Audiences eat up Dred’s unique and compelling piano style and blistering, high-larious verbal “dispatches” from the stage that make the crowd part of the show, and answer in the affirmative Frank Zappa’s classic rhetorical question, “Does humor belong in music?” By 2 am every Tuesday, usually after a swinging treatment of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper” or an R-rated barnburner of Dred’s avant-garde “Mojo Rhythm, Son of Yaah!,” someone’s overheard gurgling, “I used to think jazz sucked, but this ROCKS!” Yes, that same someone invariably throws up, passes out, and gets the boot, but the sentiment remains sincere.