Up until now the only Tony Scott currently available was two albums intended as background music for meditation, neither pointing to the jazz leanings of a artist who cut his teeth with Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Carter, to name just two. This reissue of a 1967 Verve album amply documents Scott’s interest in Middle Eastern music, featuring a handful of tracks with exotic instrumentation such as the oud and sitar, and Scott approaching the timbre of the soprano saxophone in his soloing.
While there’s a definite whiff of patchouli permeating these tracks, they are made all the more enjoyable by intermixing interpretations of standards with a more conventional instrumentation, yet there’s still a bit of adventurousness even then. Although “My Funny Valentine” and “Satin Doll” are given a fairly conventional treatment, a duet with Richard David on “Sophisticated Lady” is all angular riffs and slippery bass, while “Brother Can You Spare A Dime?” is an intimate reading with sparse backing. Scott even shows off his bluesy chops on “A Homage To Charlie Parker.” While previous reissues found Scott exploring his inner chakra, this session presents a more multifaceted player, a restless experimenter along the lines of Jimmy Giuffre, who used his chosen instrument in ways that others never did.
While Scott isn’t entirely successful in mixing his various interests into a cohesive whole, he does assert that there’s more of his unissued work that deserves a listen. Here’s hoping that this reissue paves the way for more from this neglected artist.