Conventional wisdom has it that you position one of your strongest songs as the first track of a disc. The same theory applies to baseball: The lead-off hitter should have a high batting average. Scott puts a new twist on that logic by slating "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" first on her CD Major to Minor. The only problem is it's not her song -- not by a long shot. There's nothing wrong with doing a cover, but when a search of an Internet music database reveals that the Duke Ellington classic has been issued no fewer than 574 times, you have to wonder what she was thinking. Everybody from Louis Armstrong to Lester Young has waxed the track. How could it possibly be improved upon? Other tracks on the disc, like Rodgers and Hammerstein's "It Might as Well Be Spring," Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye," Irving Berlin's "What'll I Do" and Frank Loesser's "On a Slow Boat to China," are all also as shopworn as a politician's pledge to cut taxes. Simply put, there is no shortage of CDs of jazz standards by the artists who made them standards.
While Scott struck out on song selection, she belted a triple by using a who's who of Houston jazz musicians, including Dennis Dotson (Woody Herman, Buddy Rich) on trumpet, Woody Witt (Houston Symphony, Ray Charles) on tenor sax and producer Paul English (Arnett Cobb, Dizzy Gillespie). The arrangements and execution are superb, as are Scott's vocals, but the performances can't overcome the tired material.
Scott has the potential to go from the minors to the major league, but to make that leap she's got to come up with some fresh material. Save your draft picks for discs by the originators, unless you really need that 575th version of "It Don't Mean a Thing." -- Timothy J. O'Brien
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