The last 20 years of this legendary saxman's four-decade solo career have mostly featured fun and funky, energetic pop or smooth jazz dates, with one exception, 1992's straight-ahead date Born Again. Not surprisingly, despite all the solid work he's put forth during that time, that date is the only one that's been truly respected by traditional jazz critics. But now, making his MCG debut with Bebop United, Tom Scott makes a special return to his bebop roots on a live recording -- featuring cohorts like Randy Brecker, Gil Goldstein, and Phil Woods -- performed at the Manchester Craftsman's Guild in Pittsburgh in May 2002. The date is essentially Born Again fashioned for a live setting, but with the addition of Woods upon a recommendation from the Guild. Scott wrote special arrangements for their two altos on "Silhouettes," Chick Corea's "Tones for Jones Bones," and "Close View." For Scott, alternately blowing heavy and tapping into the subtleties of these eight pieces -- including three Scott originals plus classics from Wayne Shorter ("Children of the Night") and Cannonball Adderley ("Sack o' Woe") -- takes him back to his roots when he recorded two LPs for Bob Thiele's Impulse! label during the late '60s when he was only 19 to 20 years old. The gig itself grew out of a handful of dates he did with the Born Again instrumentation at L.A.'s Catalina Bar & Grill. The results are engaging all the way and are sure to please fans who have been dying for him to return to bop. The friends he made in his early L.A. Express days and from his years on GRP and Windham Hill Jazz should broaden their horizons and take a listen as well.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran