We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
As much as I like Stanley Crouchhe’s a polemical blowhard, but unlike so many of his ilk, he’s always a great readhis liner-note assertion that Stephen Scott possesses a “big, fat piano sound” is dead wrong. Scott’s playing is more reminiscent of the tinkling lyricism of Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal, and Mulgrew Miller than the chubby pounding of Thelonious Monk, Cecil Taylor, and Andrew Hill. Scott’s new release, The Beautiful Thing, hews closer to the mainstream spirit of the former threesome, but unlike those triocentric players, Scott adds guitars, saxes, and percussion to his arrangements. Scott’s “Forevermore” features a bristling rhythmic bed, and his covers of Wayne Shorter’s “Oriental Folk Song” and Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” are insular takes on universal songs (an intriguing approach that captivates through insinuation rather than declaration). The Stephen Scott Quintet plays at 8 & 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Rear Wisconsin Ave. NW. $16. (202) 337-4141. (Christopher Porter)