Coming across yet another collection of standards is hardly the most exciting
discovery these days, but Marilyn Scott’s Handpicked is hardly a tired
review of the Great American Songbook. Handpicked is Scott’s ninth CD and
includes a collection of her favorites, hence “handpicked.” George Duke
produced and arranged the album in addition to adding his keyboard talents.
Scott is backed up by a stellar cast of jazz and R&B musicians who fill these
arrangements with powerful sound and the artistic mastery of a well oiled
Scott’s solo career started with a cover of the Beach Boys “God Only Knows” and
has been building steadily ever since. Her previous CD Nightcap, also on
the Prana label, reached number 10 on the Billboard charts in December of 2004
putting her in the company of heavy hitters such as Chris Botti, Diana Krall,
and Madeleine Peyroux.
”Starting to fall,” a song which she co-wrote with Grammy winner George Duke, is
a showcase for her stylistic vocals and great songwriting ability. She covers
“You Don’t Know Me” and “The Look of Love,” and proves herself to be more than
just a good session vocalist. Scott has a good solid jazzy, bluesy, contemporary
way with a song, which leaves you feeling as if you’ve just heard something
really new. Scott covers Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” and delivers a sweet and
soulful rendition of a generational classic.
Scott’s Handpicked is fresh and delivers a unique feeling to some old
favorites. However, the female jazz vocal category has been witness to a rebound
in the past decade and there is some serious talent out there. It will be
interesting to see if Scott can put her stylistic stamp on the competitive jazz
music scene with this new CD.