Why vocalist Marilyn Scott has never made a bigger splash in the jazz world is a mystery. Her voice has the smoothness of the highest grade velvet with just enough corduroy in the weave to turn a phrase with the deepest emotion; maybe it’s because her history includes a single in the Billboard Top 100 and West Coast studio work. In many ways she’s a female Lou Rawls, just enough commercial success to be popular but with strong enough chops to have street cred in jazz circles. On Every Time We Say Goodbye she strips down the accompaniment to a rhythm quartet able to subtly convey the dulcet tones and shifts of delicate sentiment for which she is universally known.
Pianist Cyrus Chestnut, guitarist Paul Bollenback, bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Willie Jones III work as one in understated elegance allowing Scott’s warm sound to dominate. On "I Got Lost In His Arms" and "Lonely Town" their work provides just enough foundation for Scott to place her lilting voice in lush parallel lines to the barely-there firmament. Bollenback’s smooth trills and plaintive solo accompanying lines in "Lonely" are especially poignant and full of passionate expression. Chestnut shines on "Autumn In New York." His solo is more than just nice running lines, it’s a reflection on Scott’s furtive interpretation. The resulting effect makes this tune the best track on the disc.
After three opening ballads Scott finally presents something close to a medium tempo on "Detour Ahead." Even here, the up-tempo intro gives way to a half-tempo lyric in which Scott drives her air forward with a sweetly tasteful and rhythmic power. Those looking for serious jazz rhythmic inventiveness will find much to dig on her version of "Do You Know The Way To San Jose?" Jones’ double-time brush-laden percussion work is movingly set against minimalistic piano work from Chestnut and Scott’s half-time melody. She swings her butt off and obviously enjoys the meter disparity with her sly vowel caresses and abrupt consonant breaks raising the arrangement well above the pale.
While this disc is not quite as splashy as Walking With Strangers, it will still give those in search of a torch singer for today much to luxuriate in.