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Marilyn Scott: Innocent of Nothing

Singer-songwriters of note will tell you-or should tell you-that one of the reasons for their existence is to take listeners somewhere. Somewhere where there’s love or warmth or maybe anger. Marilyn Scott’s been doing just that for years, but never so blatantly as on “Moods,” on her 11th CD. As with most of Scott’s best songs, her nuanced vocals evoke moods aplenty during the first two minutes of the tune. Then in steps Steve Connell with some spoken-word rap, pleasant at first against soothing piano. Then the tune veers into words of tension- “Somebody’s misguided moves just walked all over your happy day and made you question your motives”-enhanced by an increasing frantic beat and a hip-hop rhythm. It’s a hit over the head, but an effective one.

There are, of course, more subtle moods abounding on a CD once again produced by George Duke and offering compositions cowritten by Duke and main collaborators Brian Bromberg on bass and John Beasley and Russell Ferrante on keys. On this highly personal project, Scott covers the venerable “‘Round Midnight” and Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” and flirts with inspired wordplay on “Icebox” and environmental issues on “The Wilderness.” But her best work, as always, are several minutes of pop-jazz nirvana-the soft Brazilian inflections of “Share It” and Duke’s “A Flame” stand out-where her vocal shadings and expressions are captured beautifully.

Originally Published