Tom Scott

New Found Freedom

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Following two albums with a reconstituted L.A. Express, Bluestreak and Smokin' Section, Tom Scott returns to solo frontman duties on his Higher Octave Jazz debut, New Found Freedom, but he does so with a large number of guests. Those guests help broaden the styles of music available on the release, although Scott's own saxophone work remains a touchstone and everything on the disc will be easily programmable on smooth jazz radio. Indeed, the variety gives programmers many choices. Craig Chaquico, a fellow veteran of the 1970s rock scene and now a labelmate, joins Scott with some characteristic acoustic guitar work on the becalmed opener, "Feelin' It," after which adult contemporary singer Ann Nesby croons "You Are My Everything" while Billy Preston joins in on organ. Scott's taste for R&B and funk is on display on "(Don't You Wanna) Jam," which gives way to the more reflective "Can You Stand the Rain," spotlighting George Duke on acoustic piano. Another soulful number is an interpretation of Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years," and Daniel Rodriguez, the singing New York police officer who gained fame after September 11 (and whose debut album Scott produced) comes on for a thoughtful version of "Everything Must Change." This is a well-assembled collection of smooth jazz that will please fans of the genre and of Scott.

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