Jazz-soul album as memoir; such is the latest from the formidable singer-songwriter Cynthia Scott. The fifth self-produced release for Scott’s own Ttocs label, it is the first comprised entirely of original compositions. Some look back at her vivid life and career. Some look sideways to examine the human condition. Others look ahead to a brighter future for mankind. Blending the sinewy grit of Gladys Knight and the sophisticated sass of Shirley Horn, the one-time Raelette recalls her former boss in the refreshingly frank, funky “Shades of Ray”; nods to such idols as Carmen, Ella, Sarah and Dinah throughout “The Singer”; and lovingly salutes both her preacher father and Martin Luther King Jr. with “Vision on High” and the understatedly powerful bonus track “I Have a Dream.”
Scott speaks to the freedom of self-actualization with the salty “If the Shoe Fits” and comments on our collective ability to ignore the plight of the homeless in “The Man in the Street.” Romantic perseverance is explored in the sweet, steadfast “Keep Alive the Dream,” the sentiment broadened to global proportions in the title track. Most moving, though, is the deeply personal “Did I Know You,” in which Scott reflects upon her mother’s descent into the abyss of Alzheimer’s.