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Marilyn Scott: Nightcap

The 1988 film version of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy didn’t knock me out, but one soundtrack selection did. I bought the album solely and expressly to listen to a singer I didn’t know, Marilyn Scott, perform what seemed to me the most perfectly executed “Skylark” I’d ever heard. I subsequently searched for Scott albums, to no avail (somehow missing both Take Me With You and Avenues of Love from the ’90s). Now, at last, 16 years later, I’ve found her on Nightcap (Prana Entertainment), a first-rate collection of eight standards arranged and produced by George Duke. The intervening years have mellowed Scott’s sound a little, its pearly luster softened from white to cream, making her all the more interesting and alluring. Listening to her plumb the emotional highs and lows of “Here’s to Life” and “Here’s That Rainy Day” (suggesting more than a passing resemblance to Jo Stafford on the latter), handle the heartache of “Smile,” the wistfulness of “Stardust” and the breezy hopefulness of “Isn’t It a Lovely Day” with uniform skill and cleverly reinvent “I Wished On the Moon” as a buttery bossa nova, I’ll confess I fell in love anew. I only hope it doesn’t take another 16 years to hear from her again.

Originally Published