It's the little touches that make a contemporary jazz release stand out from the pack, and most are so intrinsic to the nature of jazz that it is a wonder how often they are ignored.

It's the little touches that make a contemporary jazz release stand out from the pack, and most are so intrinsic to the nature of jazz that it is a wonder how often they are ignored. Journeyman saxophonist and session player Tom Scott bases his songs around the usual pop melodies and urban rhythms, but he never relegates himself to blandly restating themes, preferring to add enough improvisation and grit to his lines that they ring honest and true. Further, he allows such guests as Billy Preston, Craig Chaquico, and Phil Upchurch ample room to make their instrumental presence known. Scott's mix of ballads, uptempo instrumentals, and urban vocal songs never lapse into repetition from track to track, and with each song boasting its own flavors, the overall release has far more personality than a myriad of similar projects.—SG