Despite being a three time winner of It's Showtime at the Apollo, winner of the Cognac Hennesy Jazz Search and a protégé of the late Grover Washington, Jr., this Michigan based saxman may be the most accomplished player, composer and producer groove-loving smooth jazz fans have never heard of. He's also been "hiding," doing sessions and live dates over the years with everyone from Norman Brown and Will Downing to Kirk Franklin and Najee. But after three previous indie releases, his shadowy profile was bound to move to the forefront with the release of this in the pocket, gospel tinged, sensual soul-driven debut on Megawave Records. His national profile has increased these past years as he's toured with the popular guitarist Tim Bowman, who makes his crackling electric presence known on the lively, ultra-catchy and slightly retro soprano tune "Bliss." The opening title track is a joyful blend of thump, brass and catchy wordless vocals, while "Mo' Better Blues" digs deeper and shows Scott's sense of soul-jazz history, very much in the Cannonball Adderley style. For the most part, Scott keeps an even mid-tempo and romantic keel, joining straight to the heart, picture perfect (and radio ready) melodies with colorful swirls of vocals and dazzling horn sections. His gospel influences shine ever so gently through the brassy sway and Electronic Wind Instrument melody of one of the most memorable tracks, "Hope in Darkness"; other tunes like "Voyage" show off his strong flute skills and his love for more adventurous jazz. This disc, which primed the versatile saxman for breakthrough instrumental stardom, is part of a rollout of various projects that marks the Lansing, MI based Megawave's emergence onto the national scene after being a regional label for 35 years.
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran
feat: Tim Bowman
feat: Frank McComb