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Marilyn Scott: The Landscape

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Marilyn Scott: The Landscape

The vocalist Marilyn Scott’s formidable artistic gifts are represented on the sublime lyricism of this, her 12th recording. There’s the composer of luscious, seductive poetry of her music and there’s the vocalist who gives supple life and romance to her own evocative works by melting the lyrics into the music co-composed with Russell Ferrante and Scott Kinsey. The latter two musicians are unmatched in the skill of their own writing.

All of these complementary aspects [specifically relating to Miss Scott] paint a portrait of a bold, mature woman whose songs and vocalastics speak to her in the hushed whispers of life itself. As a result Miss Scott is able to illumine these songs, employing her smoky voce to the free verse of the lyrics with remarkable acumen. The liquefaction and the sculpture of phrases and lines in the songs are uniquely informed by a life lived in all its warmth and glory – through elemental pain and unfettered joy. There is also an element of gentle – almost puckish – irony too. As the vocal breath emerges as if in wispy, exotic and fragrant breath from her chest voice, musical notes fly off the written page and leap and pirouette in the air around the room, lighting up spaces you never knew even existed.

Such is the element of surprise in Miss Scott’s prodigious vocal skills. Her intonation and articulation is so stiletto-sharp that no lyric sheet is necessary. It is possible – with some deep listening, of course – to follow her lapidary artistry. The album begins a interplanetary voyage of a butterfly, in a song that is so eloquently polymorphic that words melt the scenery they help create and before you know it the elliptical orbit of the song takes you into an another world altogether.

Other songs – such as the wistful, elegiac number, “The Landscape” – may be more terrestrial, but their translucence gives them an evasive mystique. The suggestive nature of the song “Unzip” is wrapped in richly layered femininity that combines inner strength melded into the attractive bashfulness of the song’s principal character. I could go on and on, ad infinitum, but that might spoil it for some listeners. Suffice it to say the wisps of genius float their way into every aspect of this album.

Much of this has to do with Scott Kinsey and Russell Ferrante whose musical ingenuity illuminates all of this music. Together with the luminosity and gravitas of other stellar musicians as bassists Jimmy Haslip, Logan Kane and Mike Valero, and percussion colourists such as Vinnie Coliauta, Gary Novak and Steve Schaefer, Jimmy Branly, Jeff Myers and Alex Acuña, guitarists Steve Khan and Michael Landau, and woodwinds specialists Katisse Buckingham and Steve Tavaglione, each musician is acutely attuned to Miss Scott’s vision and artistry. The apogee of the recording is “The Sun”, a chart that is magnificently uplifted by the soaring gospel soounds of the Perri Sisters. Naturally, all of this makes for an album that qualifies as a truly extraordinary work of art.

Tracks: 1: Thrown Out Into Space, Butterfly; 2: The Landscape; 3: Summer Night; 4: Irreplaceable; 5: Tomorrow; 6: Unzip; 7: The Sun

Musicians: Marilyn Scott: co-composer and vocalist; Scott Kinsey: co-composer, keyboards [1, 2, 4, 5], additional keyboards [6]; synthesizer bass [5]; Russell Ferrante: co-composer [3, 4, 6, 7], piano [3, 4, 6, 7] and keyboards [3, 6, 7]; Michael Landau: guitar [4]; Steve Khan: guitars [7]; Jimmy Haslip: electric bass [1, 4, 6, 7] and fretless electric bass [5]; Logan Kane: acoustic bass [2]; Mike Valero: acoustic bass [3]; Gary Novak: drums [1, 2]; Steve Schaefer: drums [3]; Vinnie Colaiuta: drums [4, 5]; Jimmy Branly: drums [6, 7]; Jeff Myers: congas [6]; Alex Acuña: shaker [6], percussion [7]; Steve Tavaglione: soprano saxophone [1]; Katisse Buckingham: soprano [5]; The Perri Sisters – Lori Perry, Sharon Perry, Carolyn Perry and Darlene Perry: background vocals [7]

Released – 2022
Label – Blue Canoe Records
Runtime – 37: 23

Raul da Gama is a poet and essayist. He has published three collections of poetry, He studied at Trinity College of Music, London specialising in theory and piano, and he has a Masters in The Classics. He is an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep technical and historical understanding of music and literature.

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