Marilyn Scott, The Landscape – Review
by Constance Tucker
Marilyn Scott has a long history as a leader and contributing force to an abundance of recordings. A busy session singer, she has also recorded and performed with musicians and groups, including Spyro Gyra, Yellowjackets, Hiroshima, John Mayall, Etta James, Bobby Caldwell, and Bobby Womack.
Scott’s first recording landed in 1977, Dreams of Tomorrow, on Atco/Atlantic. Her discography continued with 1983 Without Warning, Polygram, 1991 and 1992 Sin-Drome recordings, Smile, and Sky Dancing. 1996 and 1998, Warner Bros released Take Me with You and Avenues of Love. The Japanese Venus Records recording, Every Time We Say Goodbye, in 2008. Moving to Prana Entertainment from 2001 to 2017, Walking with Strangers, Nightcap, Handpicked, Innocent of Nothing, Get Christmas Started, and Standard Blue in 2017. Her 2022 release on Blue Canoe Records marks her most recent release, The Landscape.
“Thrown Out Into Space” is an earthy feel, with keyboard wizardry provided by Scott Kinsey lending an ethereal spacey vibe to the proceedings. Driven by the rhythm section of Jimmy Haslip on electric bass and Gary Novak on drums, there is no doubt the groove is deep. The icing on top with Steve Tavaglione on soprano sax. Scott has a relaxed and sage delivery filled with wisdom and soul. The lyrics invite you to her garden through introspection of thought and the beyond.
The title track, “The Landscape,” once again benefits from Kinsey’s choice colorings. He has a knack for picturization within each tapestry – this time joined by Logan Kane on acoustic bass and the urbanity of brushes by drummer Novak. Scott’s voice is augmented with an effect that gives the tune a reigning glide as she espouses the truths of death and rebirth. Kinsey switches to an acoustic-based keyboard sound, as Novak punctuates with a more active sound. Scott continues to sweetly caress each lyric with philosophical storylines.
“Unzip” offers a Latin feel and the sunny warm places that summer can afford. With visions of wet soaked skin and beaches, the waves of Scott’s voice melt away the troubles of a worried mind. Also, in the Latin vein, a breezy bossa nova can be found in “The Sun.” The savvy of pianist Russell Ferrante and the mastery of Steve Khan on guitar adorn the hollows of the crevasses of the beauty within Scott’s warming honey dripped voice. Jimmy Branly on drums and Alex Acuña on percussion create a vibrant yet flowing, airy pillow for Haslip to drive the track. With the gorgeous backing vocals provided by The Perri Sisters, it’s a contemporary delight.
Scott provides a contemporary listen with modernity that goes beyond the norm. Its thoughtful and thought-provoking lyrics elevate this album to marry echelon performances with a depth of composition in a delightful and welcome new release, imbued with distillations of the landscapes around us and the beauty they offer.