World of Slick Music
– Marilyn Scott
Hi there folks!
Time again for another edition of the slickest blog on line!
As the headline reveals today’s artist is the female singer Marilyn Scott. Perhaps not that well known for the big mass or maybe she is. Super famous or not it doesn’t really matter.
Photo: Jazz Monthly
As always let’s go way back and this time that means to December 21 1949 in Altadena, California. She grew up in southern California but eventually moved up to the north and the San Fransisco bay area to attend college on a art scholarship. She discovered music when she was 11 while listening to her mothers records of Nat King Cole, Then 3 years later she discovered Ella Fitzgerald when her friends dad played her. However the real “moment” when realizing music would become her thing so to speak came when she was 15. The location was the Prison of Socrates in Newport Beach there she saw Big Mama Thornton. In her own words “I knew I would never feel the same. Something real sat inside me called the blues”. Now she began performing with different local bands and at different local clubs in the bay area.
Photo: Jazz Monthly
While performing with some band at some venue she was spotted by a guy called Emilio Castillo, founder and leader of Tower of Power, who hired her to do some background vocals for TOP. She became good friend with Emilio whom has hired her 4 times for doing background vocals for the band. Her job with TOP eventually led her way back to L.A. and its music scene as a studio session singer. Among others she got to work with fusion band Spyro Gyra, a band i’m gonna write about, Yellowjackets, Hiroshima and her idol/influence Etta James. Among her earliest vocal influences she counts Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Gladys Knight, Janis Joplin and Sam Cooke.
Before she became a full time singer she among others worked for Billboard magazine calling radio stations and record stores. Further she worked with a blues band supporting Chuck Berry (r.i.p.) and Joe Turner. She was a cast member of “Selma” a musical about Marthin Luther King Jr and worked with Ruth Brown who played Mahalia Jackson.
She also says she has been lucky enough to work with muscians and producers who helped her find and define her real voice. Look at her albums she was worked with some of the finest producers and baddest cats!
Marilyn in action during a christmas show.
Marilyn switches easily between singing jazz/smooth jazz, pop, blues and knows perfectly how to use her voice. Her first solo recording was a single version of the Brian Wilson/Beach Boys song “God Only Knows” that hit Billboard top 100 and led to her first full album Dreams of Tomorrow released in 1979. Her second album Without Warning released in 1983 made her the darling of the jazz critics. Then album number 3 Sky Dancing which features a duet with Bobby Caldwell as well as one with Bobby Womack. This album became a huge success in Japan which led to her first tour there as the headline. Marilyn continues recording albums even today and her most recent one was released earlier this year which is a more straight ahead jazz album. On her own homepage she mentions, among a few others, two guys who helped her develeope and define her voice. Those guys are Jimmy Haslip co-founder and former bass player of Yellowjackets and Russell Ferrante also co-founder of Yellowjackets and their keyboardist.
Left to right: Will Kennedy (drummer Yellowjackets), Jimmy Haslip (former bass player Yellowjackets), Russell Ferrante (keyboardist Yellowjackets), Michael Landau (top notch session player guitar), Marilyn herself and Rich Breem
So time for today’s song it’s taken from the 1998 album Avenues of Love, see picture below. The song i’ve choosen is called “Love Is A Powerful Thing” and it’s written by a guy i’ve written about some year ago, Michael Ruff and it features none else than George Duke on keyboards. This song has a more like “Memphis soul” vibe rather than contemporary jazz yet it’s a really great song with a southern soul feeling!
So as always enjoy your listening!!
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