A fantastic early album fromTom Scott – cut when he was still a teenager, and a record that combines some sonic adventurousness with hard bop leaning sounds! Scott, especially on his early albums, is one heck of a reed player, and can get as funky as the best of them. This LP includes a massive breakbeat track called "Rural Still Life #26", plus a lot of other nice ones that mix jazz, funk, and grooviness – which may have made it a hard sell at the time, but the blend of the bold and the more easygoing sounds is pretty sweet today. Scott's quartet includes Mike Lang on keyboards, Chuck Damanico on bass, and John Guerin on drums. Titles "Freak In", "Juss Messin' Around", and "With Respect To Coltrane". A great one, and don't pass it up!
With the exception of 1992's Born Again, saxophonist Tom Scott's output for GRP was consistently disappointing. Although obviously a talented player, Scott's willingness to play arrangements whose main goal was to gain radio airplay resulted in commercial and quickly dated music. Scott is heard with smaller groups throughout this 1988 effort, which include keyboardist Randy Kerber and guitarist Dean Parks, plus guest appearances by guitarists Eric Gale and Michael Landau; all this looks promising but is actually quite routine. None of the nine funky originals were infectious enough to catch on; Scott sounds fairly anonymous in spots, particularly when he utilizes a WX-7; and it is obvious that the music was made strictly for the money. At best, this is superior background music
A shamelessly contrived effort, Keep This Love Alive is, for the most part, yet another tremendous waste of Tom Scott's talents. There are a few enjoyable moments here, including guest Dianne Schurr's sensuous vocal on "Whenever You Dream of Me" and Scott's gritty jazz-funk blowing on "Mis Thang." But on the whole, this CD is a throwaway by both jazz and pop standards. R&B/pop singer Brenda Russell is anything but memorable on the bloodless adult-contemporary song "If You're Not the One for Me," and most of the instrumentals would sound boring and lackluster even in a dentist's office. Throwing creativity to the wind, Scott leaves no doubt that his only concern is commercial radio airplay. The saxman recorded more than his share of stinkers for GRP in the 1980s and '90s, and Keep This Love Alive is at the top of the list.
After many years of recording one commercial effort after another, Tom Scott finally recorded a strong jazz set. By using Born Again as the CD's title, Scott sought to demonstrate that he was returning to his roots; unfortunately, this promising direction would only be a one-shot deal. Scott, who was always a strong musician, shows that he had not forgotten how to improvise despite all of his commercial work. He is heard on tenor, alto, and soprano performing seven mostly straight-ahead originals and Wayne Shorter's "Children of the Night."
While most musicians wind up pigeonholed into very strict stylistic trappings throughout their career, Tom Scott has f ound challenges and success playing all formats of jazz on his solo projects and as leader of the GRP All Star Big Band (in the early 90s). It was fun following his muse in the middle of the decade, as he ventured back to his straightahead roots on 1992's Born Again, then was back to the funk on this rousing jam session. Working with old and new friends like Grover Washington, Jr., Paul Jackson, Jr., Dave Witham, David Paich, Luis Conte, Eric Gale and Robben Ford, Scott mixes his own material with some contributions from the outside.
Although Tom Scott recorded one throwaway after another in the 1980s and '90s, he's still quite capable of recording a decent album – which he proved on his 1992 straightahead date Born Again and his 1996 reunion with the L.A. Express, Bluestreak. Spontaneity and inspired blowing are the rules this time. Instead of pandering to smooth jazz radio, Scott lets loose and plays from the heart for a change. The Angelino (who's heard on tenor & soprano sax and flute) avoids smothering this very 1970s-sounding jazz/R&B/pop date with production and gives ample solo space to both himself and such Express alumni as Joe Sample (electric keyboards) and Robben Ford (electric guitar). A forgettable version of Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up" never really takes off, but that's the only really disappointing song on Bluestreak – an album that was long overdue.
Following two albums with a reconstituted L.A. Express, Bluestreak and Smokin' Section, Tom Scott returns to solo frontman duties on his Higher Octave Jazz debut, New Found Freedom, but he does so with a large number of guests. Those guests help broaden the styles of music available on the release, although Scott's own saxophone work remains a touchstone and everything on the disc will be easily programmable on smooth jazz radio. Indeed, the variety gives programmers many choices. Craig Chaquico, a fellow veteran of the 1970s rock scene and now a labelmate, joins Scott with some characteristic acoustic guitar work on the becalmed opener, "Feelin' It," after which adult contemporary singer Ann Nesby croons "You Are My Everything" while Billy Preston joins in on organ.