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Tom Scott with special guest Phil Woods: Bebop United

It’s ironic that versatile woodwinds specialist Tom Scott’s Bebop United is billed as a “return back to his traditional bebop roots,” because one such homecoming, albeit temporary, had already taken place in 1992 with the release of his Born Again. Indeed, the new album contains four tunes from the earlier one: Wayne Shorter’s “Children of the Night” and Scott’s “Silhouette,” “Back Burner,” and “Close View.” And also as before, Randy Brecker appears on trumpet. Still, Bebop United, recorded live in late 2004, shows that despite many years of studio work, jazz-rock bands and pop records, the former saxophonist with Don Ellis and Oliver Nelson can still play excellent straightahead jazz in a style sometimes suggestive of Los Angeles tenor great Pete Christlieb.

Scott’s ensemble consists of tenor, trombone, trumpet and rhythm, with the horns serving mostly to provide harmonization of the melodies and background for the fine soloists. Guest altoist Phil Woods offers his stellar and ageless bebop on three tracks. Brecker shines consistently in his solos, and pianist Gil Goldstein demonstrates an impressive ability to create fascinatingly long melodic lines that make one wonder when they might end.

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