133

Shirley Scott: Trio Classics, Vol. 1

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Over the past several years Fantasy has made great strides in returning portions of the classic Shirley Scott catalog to print. Their assiduous attention illustrates both the quality of Scott’s reservoir of recordings and its depth. This latest two-fer package collects a pair of albums that originate from the same single-day 1958 Rudy Van Gelder session. Conveniently enough Great Scott! and Shirley’s Sounds represent the organist’s debut and sophomore efforts for the Prestige label respectively, and easy places to get in on the ground floor of her robust oeuvre.



Like other organists of her generation, Scott spent her early years scuffling in Jimmy Smith’s sizeable shadow. A partnership with Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis helped her star auger a sharper trajectory, and she parlayed the resulting higher profile into a lengthy solo career for the label, later switching to Verve and finding more success. The laughably dated tone of the liner notes point to another obstacle to Scott’s artistic ascendancy. Choice chauvinistic nuggets like “Shirley Scott is a girl. At the organ she does a man-sized job” are words annotator Ira Gitler would probably like to eat today. Joe Goldberg’s musings, also included, are bit more even-handed but still carry the odor of the prevailing prejudices of the day. Fantasy’s decision to reprint them right along with the music, while edifying, is also a bit surprising.



On all tracks Scott is abetted by her regular rhythm section of Duvivier and Edgehill (in common with the contemporaneous Davis group). Bassist George Tucker sits in for Duvivier on a single track, the sublimely rendered ballad “Bye Bye Blackbird.” The sixteen tunes are almost all then-popular standards with not much in the way of songbook surprises. Where Scott inserts the unexpected is in her arrangements, which make full use of her colleagues’ capabilities and in deceptively mellow and inventive ways. The trio’s take on “Summertime” is absolutely brilliant and one that traces a multiplicity of moods, from haunting to seductive in its four succinct minutes.



Occasional layers of syrup do arise on some of the slower ballads and Scott sometimes favors the reedy roller-rink settings of her instrument a bit too heavily, as on the plush reading of “Goodbye” and lush lullaby preamble to “Trees.” But even under the most ostentatious circumstances her lithesome touch and unflappable sense of swing win out. Duvivier is a model of elastic walking support, astutely expanding on the role usually reserved for the leader’s foot pedals, while Edgehill finds the space for clever accents on snare and rims. Just check out the drummer’s deft bossa-flavored syncopations on “Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You” for an indiction of how well these three move together.



Scott may have faced an uphill battle in the male hegemony of soul jazz, but her healthy back catalog bears out her ultimate victory over short-sighted chauvinists. The truth, self-evident in these sides, is that she could match chops with just about any of her Y chromosome counterparts. Here’s hoping that Fantasy keeps her reconstituted platters coming and at an even more expeditious pace.



Visit Prestige on the web.


Track Listing: The Scott/ All of You/ Goodbye/ Four/ Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You/ Trees/ Cherokee/ Brazil/ It Could Happen To You/ Summertime/ There Will Never Be Another You/ Bye Bye Blackbird*/ S

Personnel: Shirley Scott- organ; George Duvivier- bass; George Tucker- bass*; Arthur Edgehill- drums. Recorded: May 23, 1958, Hackensack, NJ.

Title: Trio Classics, Vol. 1 | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Prestige Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Float Upstream CD/LP/Track Review Float Upstream
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read Extremophile CD/LP/Track Review Extremophile
by John Sharpe
Published: September 26, 2017
Read The Source CD/LP/Track Review The Source
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read Setembro CD/LP/Track Review Setembro
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 26, 2017
Read Aqustico vol 2 CD/LP/Track Review Aqustico vol 2
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 25, 2017
Read "Telepathy & Bop" CD/LP/Track Review Telepathy & Bop
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 5, 2017
Read "Après" CD/LP/Track Review Après
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by Doug Collette
Published: January 28, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.