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CD Review: Marilyn Scott – Handpicked
By Francesco Emmanuel - 11/10/2006 - 05:44 PM EST

Artist: Marilyn Scott
Album: Handpicked
CD Review: Jazz artist Marilyn Scott has released her latest entitled ‘Handpicked’ on Prana Entertainment. It is her greatest hits collection spanning songs she’s written and performed during the period 1992 – 2001. The reason behind the album title is due to the fact that Marilyn personally chose these songs for her fans and listeners around the globe. The result is 16 songs, most written by Marilyn, with a few classics here and there.

The album is rooted in jazz, with elements of adult contemporary pop, soul and rhythm & blues mixed in as well. Her voice has a smooth mid-range tone, which gives her songs a romantic, sultry and sophisticated feel. The theme I gathered from this record here is one of life and love, and the various view-points one can take at different times.

‘Starting to fall’ has a steady groove to it, ‘You don’t know me’ is a timeless classic; one that Marilyn does an excellent rendition of. What really caught my attention was her version of Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes’, a song which is perfect in everyway – one of my favorites, and she does justice to it, she does not attempt to re-create it but captures its basic essence in her own way.

The album has both a light side, (with songs like ‘Smile’) and a sad side to it; (songs like ‘Don’t let love get away’ delve into this), probably to reflect both states of our human existence. Some songs portray a sense of yearning, like ‘Let me be the one’ and other songs deliver the feeling of loss.

Marilyn has previously released eight albums, and she has always maintained a steady love of the great American songbook. Her rendition of ‘The Look of Love’ from 1998’s ‘Avenues of Love’ earned producer George Duke a Grammy nomination for best arrangement with vocals. She has also had Top 10 radio hits with ‘The Last Day’ and ‘I’m calling you’.

Over the years she has worked with such renowned names in the music biz such as Brenda Russell, George Duke, Yellowjackets' Jimmy Haslip, Bob Mintzer and Russell Ferrante.

For this album, in addition to producer George Duke, the following musicians all played their parts: Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Ray Fuller (guitar), Brian Bromberg (acoustic bass), Dori Caymmi (Brazilian guitar), Dean Parks (guitar), Brandon Fields (sax), Dan Higgins (flute and sax), Rick Baptist (trumpet) and Lenny Castro (percussion)

Marilyn has certainly paid her dues, singing in the jazz circuit in Los Angeles and her vindication is the caliber of musicians she garners to work with her, time and again. She has cited her session work with Tower of Power to be her most influential, as they helped teach her how to work in the studio.

She has also lent her time to worthy causes such as the Equality Rocks concert in Washington, D.C, April 2000. Later on, she established the Prana Foundation and in 2004, she partnered with the Anti-Defamation League in Los Angeles to help launch the Miller Early Childhood Initiative, providing anti-bias training for teachers, caregivers and parents of pre-school children ages 3-5.

Marilyn is in the studio working on her next release with George Duke, Patrice Rushen, Renato Neto and others. It promises to venture into new territory for this jazz/pop singer-songwriter, which is nothing new for an artist of such exquisite caliber as Marilyn Scott.


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