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Scott Gwinnell has been a composer and pianist since he was just eight years old. And over the course of a successful music career, he has also, out of necessity, become an accomplished bandleader. He’s written more than 300 pieces of music and toured with such jazz greats as Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Billy Hart, Delfayo Marsalis, John Clayton, and Jon Hendricks, for whom Gwinnell was music director for three years. He plays with various projects, but composes mostly for his 16-piece group, the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra. On his Mack Avenue Records/Detroit Music Factory debut however, Gwinnell stripped things down just a little.
“The tradition of Detroit’s jazz music,” Gwinnell notes, “has been rooted in ‘hard bop’, a style of jazz that frequently implemented these instruments (trumpet, alto sax and tenor sax, accompanied by piano, bass and drums). Even though I was tempted to extend my orchestrational pallet, I wanted to be true to Detroit’s ‘sound’. I’ve also tried to incorporate the musical elements of hard bop, such as: a focus on groove, mercurial tempos, and a touch of the blues. Barry Harris, Jones Brothers, Kenny Burrell, and Pepper Adams come to mind as influences for this music.”