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Paulette McWilliams/Tom Scott: Telling Stories

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Before it was Rufus with Chaka Khan it was Ask Rufus with Paulette McWilliams. Since then, McWilliams has lent her voice to dozens of national TV ads, toured with the likes of Michael Jackson, Bette Midler, Marvin Gaye and Johnny Mathis and recorded with Quincy Jones. Now she is stepping out as a leader, with invaluable help from Tom Scott, who serves as co-producer and principal arranger and plays sax on eight cuts and synth strings on two others.

Listening to McWilliams, especially on her opening “Sunday in New York,” it’s impossible not to be reminded of Sarah Vaughan: the same deliciously long notes, impeccable phrasing and round, full tone. Hints of Nancy Wilson-esque purity are also strongly evident across these dozen tracks, an eclectic playlist that extends from Willie Dixon to Kool & the Gang.

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