March 7, 2006
by Jim Newsom
Who: Saxophonic pop star
Sounds like: Pre-fusion ‘60s jazz
Is it any good? Tom Scott first appeared on the radar in the 1970s as musical director for Joni Mitchell, and with his own band of jazz-rock fusioneers, the L. A. Express. His was the sax on Carole King’s “Jazzman,” and he was the first-call saxophonist for literally everyone. After the smooth jazz format came along in the late ‘80s, he became a mainstay star of that subgenre. So it’s a surprise to hear him fronting a straightahead little big band with “bebop” in the album title. But this is a wonderful outing, a four-horn front line groovin’ over a piano-bass-drums rhythm section. The arrangements are sweet indeed; the choice of material---from the pens of Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Cannonball Adderley and the Tom Cat himself---is impeccable. Bebop vet Phil Woods guests on several tunes, but it’s the ensemble work that captivates and entrances with its blend of sax and brass, smooth in the best sense of the word.
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