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January/February 2003

Tom Scott
New Found Freedom
Higher Octave Music

Collaboration is a key element on saxophonist Tom Scott's New Found Freedom (Higher Octave). Scott is joined on the album by a bevy of well-known artists, including George Duke, Craig Chaquico, Marcus Miller and Jonathan Butler. Surprisingly, these collaborations don't strike many sparks; you keep waiting for Scott and his guests to dig in deep and produce a full-blown jam. It never happens.

Still, there are numerous high points. Scott, alternating on sax and synth harmonica, gives a lyrical performance on the romantic ballad "Never Too Far From You," which features Duke on acoustic piano. Daniel Rodriguez, the former NYPD officer who became famous for his stunning singing voice after September 11, turns in a sensitive reading of "Everything Must Change," which Scott gives a dash of Latin flavor. "(Don't You Wanna) Jam," featuring guitarist Craig T. Cooper on, among other things, talk box, recalls classic '70s funk, and Scott's clarinet engages in some animated interaction with Phil Upchurch's acoustic guitar on the grooving closer "The View From Here."

Originally published in January/February 2003
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