Sometimes, we get lucky, and artists eager to prove themselves put on blinders and go for broke in the jam department. Most recent case in point, electric guitarist Cal Scott, whose debut Fierce Joy is all about unabashed live-feeling ensemble energy, damn the radio consequences. In other words, there's few true meltdown tracks tailor made for smooth jazz. Even the breezy title track offers a tough percussion base, and the Miles-like closer soars in a classical vein. What we get instead are hooky melodies pumped up by less restrained sax and flute blowing by Jeff Holman, spunky piano solos by Barry Aiken and Scott's nonstop funk-rock power, all backed by Sandin Wilson's throbbing bass. It would be exciting enough to spotlight rock guitar as a funk hallmark, but Scott has other surprises up his eclectic sleeve, as he delves spontaneously into Latin brass flavors and, right in the middle of a piece, goes purely jazzy on us. Scott is one small indie label artist who shouldn't stay small for long.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran