While most musicians wind up pigeonholed into very strict stylistic trappings throughout their career, Tom Scott has f ound challenges and success playing all formats of jazz on his solo projects and as leader of the GRP All Star Big Band (in the early 90s). It was fun following his muse in the middle of the decade, as he ventured back to his straightahead roots on 1992's Born Again, then was back to the funk on this rousing jam session. Working with old and new friends like Grover Washington, Jr., Paul Jackson, Jr., Dave Witham, David Paich, Luis Conte, Eric Gale and Robben Ford, Scott mixes his own material with some contributions from the outside.
Following two albums with a reconstituted L.A. Express, Bluestreak and Smokin' Section, Tom Scott returns to solo frontman duties on his Higher Octave Jazz debut, New Found Freedom, but he does so with a large number of guests. Those guests help broaden the styles of music available on the release, although Scott's own saxophone work remains a touchstone and everything on the disc will be easily programmable on smooth jazz radio. Indeed, the variety gives programmers many choices. Craig Chaquico, a fellow veteran of the 1970s rock scene and now a labelmate, joins Scott with some characteristic acoustic guitar work on the becalmed opener, "Feelin' It," after which adult contemporary singer Ann Nesby croons "You Are My Everything" while Billy Preston joins in on organ.
Václav Jan Krvtitel Tomásek wrote numerous songs and short piano pieces, genres in which his works predate those of his rather more famous near contemporary Franz Schubert by some years. Quite why they are so neglected today is a mystery as this enthralling new album from Renata Pokupic' and Roger Vignoles unfolds twenty-eight songs of a rare appeal. Perhaps we should not be surprised: Tomáek was one of the very few composers of Goethe settings to meet with the great poet's (relatively) undivided approval.