To paraphrase from the title of a vintage jazz ballad, “It Was a Beautiful Three Days in August,” when singer/songwriter Marilyn Scott fulfilled her long-held dream of recording an acoustic jazz album in New York City the way the legends used to do it - with the singer and musicians all cutting and working out arrangements together in the studio. Christened Every Time We Say Goodbye, the album is a dreamy throwback to a purer aesthetic that marks the 30th anniversary of Ms. Scott’s impressively eclectic recording career - one in which she has successfully sung soul, pop, smooth jazz, adult contemporary and music for motion pictures. However, anyone who has listened to her CDs knows that jazz has been a prominent part of the foundation of her artistic architecture. So much so that she is the only vocalist in the history of Billboard magazine to have two different albums charting on the Contemporary Jazz and Traditional Jazz charts - simultaneously.
Now on Every Time We Say Goodbye, Marilyn Scott is taking her love for jazz to new heights with a seasoned East Coast quintet led by acclaimed pianist Cyrus Chestnut, produced for the Japan-based Venus Records imprint by label president Tetsuo Hara and veteran jazz musician/producer Todd Barkan - his partner of 15 years. The 10-song repertoire is comprised of smoky wee hours standards such as the Cole Porter-penned title track, a Rio-kissed samba take on Irving Berlin’s “I Got Lost in His Arms” and a blues walk through “Detour Ahead.” The arrangements offer fresh nuances to familiar favorites as do Marilyn’s artful and articulate vocal interpretations.
The process of how Every Time We Say Goodbye was created was a swift and surprise-filled one. “Todd called me in June of 2007 and asked if I’d be interested in doing something for Venus,” Ms. Scott recalls. “The company was looking to do more vocal projects.” Barkan - whose esteemed resume includes production for jazz vocal greats such as Jimmy Scott, Gloria Lynne, Freddy Cole and Vanessa Rubin, as well as Venus’ own Barbara Carroll and Simone Kopmajer - adds, “A year ago Mr. Hara asked me to send him demo materials on a bunch of singers to see what resonated with him and the Japanese market. I first became aware of Marilyn through a neighbor of mine - an amateur music enthusiast with whom I’m constantly sharing new music. Though Marilyn’s musical style was not the idiom I normally work in, she had a resonance and timbre in her voice that I felt would sound wonderful within a straight ahead jazz framework. Mr. Hara and I both felt strongly about this, so we reached out to her.”
It was Barkan who hand-picked Ms. Scott’s enviable quintet of pianist Cyrus Chestnut, reed man Ken Peplowski, guitarist Paul Bollenback, bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Willie Jones III. “I got the guys I felt could go where she wants to go but maintain the Venus straight ahead jazz sound,” Barkan explains. “Bringing Marilyn to the east was a great idea. It helped meld her musical expression into more of a New York state of mind.”