TOM SCOTT & THE L.A. EXPRESS: Smokin' Section (Windham Hill Jazz)

As a rule, I normally don't care much for the whole 'smooth jazz' genre. You know the type. Every song starts with a sweep of the wind chimes, leading directly into the drum machine and/or the fake fingersnaps. While a lot of Tom Scott's recent music falls into this category, there are a few songs on his new CD that require mentioning. The big surprise here is a sultry, laid back cover of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe," featuring Patty Smyth on lead vocals and a gorgeous solo by Scott. This song alone is worth the price of the disc.

The other standout tune is "TCB in "E"." This 10-minute fusion workout is a live recording from The Blue Note in Tokyo, with scorching solos by Scott, guitarist Buzzy Feiten, and keyboardist Alan Pasqua. Combine these songs with the disc's astounding sound quality, and you've got a worthy addition to your CD collection. Even for just these songs.

© 1999 Steve Marshall

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