Randy Scott

90 Degrees at Midnight

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Saxophonist Randy Scott works a few variations on the standard smooth jazz formula on his fifth album, 90 Degrees at Midnight. Scott, a busy session musician who has played extensively with gospel and R&B artists, is most comfortable re-creating R&B styles of the 1970s in his music, which makes his cover of A Taste of Honey's 1978 chart-topper "Boogie Oogie Oogie" a logical choice. To this end, he eschews the usual heavily synthesized backing tracks typical of smooth jazz in favor of live guitarists and drummers, with producer Demetrius Nabors providing keyboards. And, again unusual in smooth jazz, he employs a horn section consisting of two trombones (Edward Gooch and Ron Kischuck) and a trumpet (Kris Johnson), writing charts for them to play, sometimes in counterpoint to his own solos, sometimes to shadow him. Over the frequently funky results, he plays in a fairly typical smooth jazz manner, it is true, especially when he's using his soprano or employing an EWI that sounds more synthesized than organic. But when he breaks out his tenor, as he does especially toward the end of the album on tracks like "Kisses" and "Just What I Prayed For," he shows off some distinctive jazz chops that don't need any qualification.

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