The unblemished record of Pittsburgh's Mancheaster Craftsmen's Guild as a venue for recording jazz albums continues with the this new recording from Tom Scott with special guest Phil Woods. Scott has amassed a lengthy discography which has reflected high energy fusion, pop-soul and smooth jazz over the past two decades. His earlier years, however, found him playing strongly as a member of the Don Ellis and Oliver Nelson Big Bands.
In 1992, Scott returned to the mainstream with Born Again, featuring all Scott originals plus Wayne Shorter's "Children of the Night." Twelve years later, he regrouped as many of the original players as possible for this session at MCG. The group now included baritonist Ronnie Cuber, trumpeter Randy Brecker, trombonist Jay Ashby, pianist Gil Goldstein, bassist Duane Burno and drummer Willie Jones.
The compositions for this album are not the same ones from the 1992 date. In addition to the Shorter tune, Scott provides three original compositions and selections from Chick Corea, Michel Legrand, Cannonball Adderley and Jerome Kern with special arrangements.
Legendary altoist Phil Woods is only heard on three selections and manages to raise the bar a notch on each of them: Scott's "Close View," "Silhouettes" and Corea's "Tones For Jones Bones." The tight harmonization of the horns is especially noteworthy on many of these tracks, and there's lots of solo space for Randy Brecker's trumpet. When he finally is let loose on "Sack O'Woe," Ronnie Cuber shows off his gutty baritone style. Jay Ashby contributes several fine trombone solos and it is a pleasure to hear Gil Goldstein featured on acoustic piano this time.
Scott's straight-ahead style belies the fact that his musical output in the past has been in a far less adventurous genre. But he still manages to sound vital and accomplishes the mission of the title: Bebop United.
Personnel: Tom Scott: tenor saxophone; Robbie Cuber: baritone saxophone; Randy Brecker: trumpet; Jay
Ashby: trombone; Gil Goldstein: piano; Duane Burno: bass; Willie Jones: drums; Phil Woods: