Brian Scarborough has arrived. Once a precocious boy wonder brimming with potential, the trombonist, composer and bandleader proved that he’s joined the ranks of Kansas City’s elite jazz musicians at RecordBar on Sunday, August 18.
Scarborough possessed the assurance and advanced conception of a musician twice his age as he led a stellar quintet consisting of saxophonist Matt Otto, guitarist Adam Schlozman, bassist Jeff Harshbarger and drummer Brian Steever in a performance of original material.
I wasn’t surprised when he told the dozen people who paid the $5 cover to catch the first set that he’d been listening to Albert Mangelsdorff. While decidedly thornier than his previous playing, Scarborough’s slightly left-of-center attack wouldn’t have caused conservative devotees of Bob Brookmeyer or J.J. Johnson to squirm.
Focusing solely on Scarborough would be imprudent. Otto remains the best soloist in town not named Bobby Watson. And the group’s sophisticated comping was frequently as intriguing as the individual solos. Scarborough’s rapid evolution suggests that I’m likely to encounter a much different musician the next time I catch him. I can hardly wait.
(Original image of Adam Scholzman, Brian Scarborough, Matt Otto and Brian Steever by Plastic Sax.)