Scott Morgan: Songs Of Life

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Scott Morgan: Songs Of Life There's no greater teacher than life. Its bounties and tragedies, triumphs and defeats, and strange flirtations with absurdist theater and dead on truth have a way of enriching perspective and giving us the tools to communicate at a much deeper level. Few embody that fact better than vocalist Scott Morgan, who, after studying music in college in the '80s, taking a protracted time away from the art form, and reengaging with the craft at the dawn of the new millennium, is finally releasing his debut album.

Morgan's background in musical theater greatly informs his work on Songs Of Life, allowing him to exist in a variety of character spaces and scenes. His strength sits with his ability to tap into the proper emotional streams and put across an idea without coming off as disingenuous. It might sound like something that's easy to do, but it's not. The medley of Dave Catney's "Little Prayer" and Lerner and Loewe's "Wouldn't It Be Loverly"—the former given as a threnody to its composer and other victims of the AIDS epidemic, the latter performed with a touching, featherweight delivery—is a prime example of the candor that comes through in Morgan's voice. "Lost In The Stars" is another one.

In terms of repertoire, Morgan proves to have catholic tastes. He takes a crack at vocalese by writing his own lyrics to a Chet Baker solo for "It's You Or No One," visits two James Taylor tunes, touches on Duke Ellington, investigates a number of Fred Hersch compositions, delivers a wonderfully nuanced take on Alan and Marilyn Bergman's "Like A Lover," and rides off into the sunset with the The Beatles' "I Will." Some of the material, such as Hersch's "Lazin' Around" and Ellington's "I'm Just A Lucky So And So," speaks in lighthearted tones; other tracks swing with style, guided by an ace crew that includes Hersch, bassist Matt Aronoff, and drummer Ross Pederson; and a good number of selections allow for deep reflection and rumination.

Some may shy away from dubbing Morgan a "jazz singer," but the classification of what he does, or what he is, is largely irrelevant. The veracity of his vocal work is what counts. He takes each song on its own terms, pulling personal meaning from the music and words while remaining respectful in his interpretations. That's all that anybody could want or ask for in a singer.

Track Listing: It's You Or No One; Little Prayer/Wouldn't It Be Loverly; Song Of Life; Lazin' Around; I Just Found Out About Love; Secret O' Life; Like A Lover; I'm Just A Lucky So And So; Lost In The Stars; I'll Follow; This Heart Of Mine; Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight; I Will.

Personnel: Scott Morgan: vocals; Fred Hersch: piano; Matt Aronoff: bass; Ross Pederson: drums; Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone (3, 5, 8); Janis Siegel: vocals (10).

Title: Songs Of Life | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Miranda Music


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read My Head Is Listening CD/LP/Track Review My Head Is Listening
by John Sharpe
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Passin' Thru CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Ugly Beauty CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Nick Davies
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet CD/LP/Track Review Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks" CD/LP/Track Review Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Lab 2016" CD/LP/Track Review Lab 2016
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "Les Rhincéros III" CD/LP/Track Review Les Rhincéros III
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Hoping Against Hope" CD/LP/Track Review Hoping Against Hope
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 19, 2017
Read "Joy Comes Back" CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Parking Lot Symphony" CD/LP/Track Review Parking Lot Symphony
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 3, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A DONATION  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.