Dred Scott Trio
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Dred Scott Trio

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Comedy


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Village Voice"

While playing, the pianist sometimes gets antsy and stands up, a la Jerry Lee Lewis. It's a move that reminds just how physical his music can be -- especially a piece like "Mojo Rhythm." Splash is part of this group's persona. This summer at Newport they made groggy morning crowd act midnightish. For the last three years at this downtown venue, they've been making a midnightish crowd act rockish (meaning whoopish). Blending pop, bop, pulse, and clatter, they get to a place that swings on its own terms. And they entertain as well. Prep for the Halloween gig by donning your "anything goes" psyche. JIM MACNIE - village voice

"AllAboutJazz review of"

This album is the Dred Scott Trio’s tribute to one of its most frequent gigs in New York. In a city where regular engagements are more and more scarce it is a beautiful thing to see the relationship this band shares with a venue; Live at the Rockwood Music Hall is a beautiful showcase of this dynamic piano trio.
Right away the listener is drawn in to the group’s lively energy. “Well, You Might” is a solid opener, with a pulsating melody that speaks of modernism. Scott’s solo is equally mesmerizing; his lines soaring through the chord changes at a speed that leaves listeners wondering what just flew by them.
The band shows they know how to groove on “The Wizard.” This modern and somewhat funky take on Black Sabbath’s “The Wizard” speaks of a musical heritage in a forward-looking style. Drummer Tony Mason shines on this track with his cohorts driving him forward with the repetitious melody. “This Ain’t No Russian Novel, Baby” is beautiful in its simplicity and swinging in its feel. The band blends together nicely for a fresh take on the modern trio sound.
One comes away from this album confident that jazz is still alive and kicking and that there are still places where it is welcomed. - allaboutjazz-newyork

"New York Times"

a restless trio…appealingly rugged. - nate chinen

"Time Out New York"

[Live at the Rockwood Music Hall] demonstrates that Scott’s vision of bop is a deeply personal one, which
can be either cozily swinging or devilishly tricky - Time Out New York

"JazzMan (France)"

a certain Satanic allure … - JazzMan (France)

"San Francisco Bay Guardian"

reorienting the compass of jazz... - San Francisco Bay Guardian

"SF Weekly"

a disciple of psychedelic subterfuge, coupled with post-cool intensity... - SF Weekly

"San Francisco Examiner"

Scott is not a fine—in fact, magnificent—pianist, he is a fine, magnificent all-around musician. - Phil Elwood - San Francisco Examiner

"sf chronicle"

dred scott returns to conquer with jazz trio.

It seems a long time ago when Dred Scott was a prince of the city. It was the mid-'90s, and Scott was keyboardist and founding member of rap-jazz-funk outfit Alphabet Soup, which held down a weekly spot at the Up and Down Club on Folsom Street.

This was the last time San Francisco had a jazz scene actively supported by nightclubs. They called it acid jazz, and bands like the Broun Fellinis, the Charlie Hunter Trio and Mingus Amungus packed clubs like the Paradise Lounge, the Club DV8 and Bruno's.

When the scene fizzled, Scott left for New York, gradually making a name for himself as an iconoclastic entertainer in a jazz-trio format with a muscular, unpredictable style and a penchant for covering pop tunes. He lives in Brooklyn, plays weekly at the Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan's Lower East Side and gets side gigs backing up lots of singers.

This week Scott, 45, returns to the Bay Area with his trio - Ben Rubin on stand-up bass and Tony Mason on drums - for shows at the Oakland Yoshi's and the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz. The Chronicle caught up with Scott over the phone.

Q: Let's get this out of the way first: There's also a rapper named Dred Scott. How do you avoid confusion?

A: Well, to my knowledge I'm the only white guy named Dred Scott (laughs). There's also a visual artist named Dread Scott, and occasionally I get calls from galleries asking if I want to display my work.

Q: How does a white guy have the name of a famous slave?

A: My real name is Joseph Patrick Scott. I grew up in St. Louis, and when I was out with my mother she'd always point to the courthouse steps and say, "Right over there, that's where they used to sell slaves." And it was mind-blowing to my young mind that people would do something like that. And St. Louis is where the Dred Scott decision went down. ... It was the catalyst for the Civil War. It's part of my history growing up, so when I was looking for a name, that came up right away. Plus, I have a really sarcastic, dark sense of humor.

Q: So I hear you're in the movies these days.

A: Yeah, the Dred Scott Trio is in a scene in the movie "Once More With Feeling" that played at Sundance. I also composed the score for a documentary called "Home" with Susan Sarandon, Mike Myers and Liam Neeson. The actors talk about their relationship to New York.

Q: What else is up with the trio?

A: We have a new album out called "Live at the Rockwood Music Hall." We've been playing every Tuesday night there at midnight for three years. It's a great gig. We're also gonna make a second album of tunes, "Standards 2000 Vol. 2," that'll be covers like "California Dreaming," "Physical," "Don't Fear the Reaper" and "The Long and Winding Road."

Q: "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John?

A: Yeah. We do it as a slow bossa nova. I got the idea from Goldfrapp - they do a great version of it.

Q: Why play pop tunes as opposed to jazz standards?

A: It's what jazz musicians have always done. They play the tunes that are around them. It connects to the audience. The problem is, these days, songs don't have enough chords in them. That's why I play a lot of songs from the '60s. Also, a Zep tune or Pink Floyd tune, that's deep in the lexicon. People love that.

Q: Your old band Alphabet Soup played the Monterey and San Francisco jazz festivals. Last summer, the Dred Scott Trio played the Newport Jazz Festival.

A: Yeah, that was a huge opportunity for us. The crowd was really into it even though it was early in the morning. You know, we had a PR guy working with us who came up with this slogan, "Jazz for people who don't like jazz." I didn't really like that, but when you hire people you gotta let them do what they do. But when I look out into the crowd and see girls having a really good time - as opposed to people just staring at the band with blank faces - that feels really great.

- david rubien

"santa cruz metro"

Dred Scott has a highly abusive relationship with his piano. One minute he’s in a furious rage, poking, jamming and slapping the keys around like a coked-up mobster. Then, after cooling down a bit, he’s apologizing with tender ticklings and delicate caresses, trying to convince each key that he’s sorry and he’ll change. But no matter how bad it gets, sooner or later they always come back to each other. Plus, one listen to the fusion of rock, funk and hip-hop-laced jazz that comes out of their union proves that dysfunctional relationships are often the most exciting. - curtis cartier


dred scott trio 'standards 2010', 2011
dred scott trio 'habitual', 2011
dred scott 'prepared piano', 2010
dred scott trio 'live at the rockwood music hall', 2009
dred scott trio 'featuring kenny brooks', 2004
dred scott trio 'scott free', 2002
dred scott trio featuring adam levy 'standards 2000', 2000
dred scott trio 'time for the hard stuff', 1997
dred scott 'small clubs are dead', 1993

http://www.dredscott.com (stream "live at the rockwood music hall" here)

check out this video from our 2008 set at the Newport Jazz Festival:

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dispatches (blog)– http://www.dredscott.tumblr.com



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 Music Hall, out now on Ropeadope Digital, is a two-session masterpiece which documents the trio’s open-ended engagement (four 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.

Dred Scott grew up in St. Louis, but honed his chops in the San Francisco Bay Area where he gained a reputation as an innovator and as a leader of the groundbreaking jazz/hip-hop band Alphabet Soup. He has also recorded on nearly 40 albums with the likes of Don Byron, Anthony Braxton, John Adams, Cecil McBee, and Andrew Cyrille, and has performed with Levon Helm, Norah Jones, Joe Henderson, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Bob Weir, Rickie Lee Jones, Moby, the Berkeley Symphony (Kent Nagano), and many more. His trio, which includes his bassist of 12 years, Ben Rubin aka Benny Cha Cha (Mudville, Marshall Crenshaw, Karsh Kale) and drumming phenom Tony Mason (Joan Osborne, Leo Nocentelli, Bo Diddley, Charlie Hunter Trio), recently made their first appearance at the venerated 2008 Newport Jazz Festival and also appear as a jazz trio in the feature film Once More, With Feeling, starring Drea de Matteo, Linda Fiorentino and Chazz Palmenteri, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Other festival appearances for the trio include the 2008/2009/2010 Cannes Film Festival, the 2009 Charlie Parker Jazz Festival and 2009 Freihofer’s Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY. In 2006, Dred scored the documentary Home, which featured Susan Sarandon, Mike Myers, Liam Neeson and many others. Dred Scott also collaborates with some of NYC’s most sought-after acts, including Richard Julian, Sasha Dobson, Bill McHenry, Jay Collins, Rene Risque and the Art Lovers, Mudville and many others. Most recently, Dred produced Country Joe and the Fish bassist Bruce Barthol’s debut record, and is currently producing albums for vocalist Carol Lipnik, and the Bari Koral Family Band.