Jazz CD Reviews
Marilyn Scott: Every Time We Say Goodbye – Marilyn Scott, vocals/ Cyrus Chestnut, piano/ Paul Bollenback, guitar/ Gerald Cannon, bass/ Willie Jones III, drums/ Ken Peplowski, tenor sax and clarinet – Venus Records
Published on August 28, 2008
Marilyn Scott is journeyman jazz singer who’s been around since the early seventies; she studied in the San Francisco area, and was eventually noticed by Emilo Castillo of the Bay Area group Tower of Power, who hired her as a background singer. That blossomed into gigs with the likes of Etta James, Boby Womack, George Duke, Spyrogyra and The Yellowjackets, and she has about a dozen albums to her credit. A duet with Bobby Caldwell, “Sky Dancing,” was a huge hit in Japan, and she still has quite a following there. Her new record, Every Time We Say Goodbye, fulfills her lifelong dream of recording an acoustic jazz album of classic material in New York. Venus Records, a Japanese record company that’s gotten quite a lot of high-end buzz lately for their audiophile-quality stereo SACD releases, has given us this Red Book CD in astonishingly good sound – hopefully, they’ll offer an SACD version, as well!
While engaging in a little Internet investigative work on Marilyn Scott, I discovered that she has her own You Tube site, with quite a few really good videos. There’s one in particular, where she talks about the making of this recording, and she offers a great deal of insight on the creative process, and there are some pretty good visuals documenting the studio sessions. The album was apparently recorded “live in the studio,” with no multitracking or overdubbing! Since Venus is a Japanese-based company, as usual, there’s very little in the way of technical information (at least in English) in the album notes – no wonder this disc sounds so great!
The cast of supporting musicians is stellar, to say the least, with such notables as Cyrus Chestnut on piano (he’s just amazing!), Gerald Cannon on bass and the always excellent Ken Peplowski on tenor sax and clarinet. These guys share a rapport with Marilyn Scott that’s nothing short of astounding; from a creative and performance standpoint, this disc is exceptionally good, and the recording from Venus Records is to die for! As good as this Red Book CD sounds, I can only imagine what an SACD of this date would sound like! The song selection are all pretty much tried and true standards, with the notable exception of Burt Bacharach’s “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?,” which is given a really upbeat and slightly off-kilter arrangement that suits it perfectly. The quintet plows through classic numbers such as Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris,” Lenny Bernstein’s “Lonely Town” and “Somewhere,” and Vernon Duke’s “Autumn In New York.” All the players are given plenty of room to stretch out, and these guys achieve a singular groove that made for an entertaining and remarkably good listen.
Marilyn Scott has a smoky-sweet alto that reminds me somewhat of Karrin Allyson – it’s perfectly suited to the song selection. I must admit that I’m unfamiliar with the bulk of her recorded catalog, but as good as this session is, I can’t imagine any of it being any less good. I’m really impressed by this release, and look forward to hearing much more of Venus’ catalog. Very highly recommended!
TrackList: Every Time We Say Goodbye; I Got Lost In His Arms; Lonely Town; Detour Ahead; Do You Know The Way To San Jose?; Autumn In New York; I Love Paris; Cry Me A River; Caravan; Somewhere.
— Tom Gibbs