By Michael Marsh
One of my personal joys, in doing the smooth jazz reviews for The New Citizen Press, is when I have the opportunity to turn the spotlight on one or our up and coming in-state smooth jazz artists. Such is the case with my review of Randy Scott’s new CD, “Breathe”. Randy Scott is a saxophonist who has been on the local music scene since the early 90’s, and although he is relatively well known in Detroit smooth jazz circles, he’s still searching for that big breakthrough CD to give him big national exposure. Being a friend and protege` of the late, great Grover Washington, Jr., and having won numerous competitions at such venues as Showtime At The Apollo and The Hennesey Jazz Search, it was perhaps just a matter of time before the entire smooth jazz nation became aware of this talented artist. I think Scott is about to accomplish his goal of getting big national airplay with the July 10th release of “Breathe”, on the Megawave label, which is based in Lansing, Michigan. “Breathe” is Scott’s fourth CD, and it is by far his best. In my opinion, “Breathe” is the perfect follow up to Scott’s 2002 release of his third CD, “Words Unspoken”, which I also thought was a very nice piece of music. Although it did achieve top forty status on the smooth jazz charts, “Words Unspoken” did not sell as well is it should have, in my opinion. I don’t think that will be the case at all with this latest project. The lead off tune for this CD is the title cut, “Breathe”, and I like it a lot. It’s an upbeat number with a little bit of a funky flavor to it. Scott’s saxophone sounds very nice on this one. Appearing next is a well done rendition of the title song from the Spike Lee movie, “Mo’ Better Blues”. Scott is joined on this one by Dwight Adams, playing trumpet. The interplay between Scott’s sax and Adams’ trumpet is very enjoyable, as they alternate on lead. “Bliss” appears at track three, and this is my personal favorite from the CD. Scott is joined by fellow Detroiter, guitarist Tim Bowman, on this upbeat, smooth jamming number, and I especially like when Bowman and Scott get into a little interplay on their instruments as they head into the fade out. As far as I’m concerned, they could have stretched this tune out another two or three minutes, and it would have been absolutely off the hook. At track four, Scott presents us with a very soulful instrumental cover of Jill Scott’s “Whatever”, and it is extremely well done. It seems that almost every smooth jazz artist these days feels compelled to have at least one Latin-flavored song on each CD project, and Randy Scott gives us his version at track five, a decent number named “San Juan”. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s a well done song for anyone who likes their music with a Latin flair to it. “Imagine This” and “What More Could I Ask For” appear next on the CD. With both songs, Scott presents us with easy-flowing, mellow numbers that will definitely put you into a relaxed mood, followed by a very short, easy flowing interlude at track eight, “Morgan’s Interlude”. With the ninth track, Scott picks up the pace again with a nice smooth jamming number, entitled “Just The Thought Of You”. At track ten, Scott blows another mellow sax, with an easy-flowing number entitled “Deeply”. What I particularly like about “Deeply” is that it has a persistent, driving, infectious undertone to it, which serves to provide a sexy aura around the whole song. Scott finishes off his project with the mellow, easy flowing “Hope In Darkness”, on which Scott is featured playing the Lyracon, and a more old school, traditional style jazz number, entitled “Voyage”.
I absolutely love this CD and I encourage you to buy it, not only for the purpose of supporting one of our own area musicians and a Lansing based record company, but also because it’s a great piece of music. I give “Breathe” five stars out of a possible five.
Michael Marsh is the jazz reviewer for TNCP. To make contact, you may e-mail him at [email protected] for review.