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Innocent Of Nothing by Marilyn Scott

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Or maybe it’s the other way around. In either case, with Innocent Of Nothing, Marilyn Scott’s beautiful and beguiling new Prana Entertainment release, this gloriously gifted vocalist, songwriter and musical stylist par excellence has fashioned a stunning collection of ten tracks that manages to sound at the same time fresh and familiar, instantly recognizable and utterly unique. "Marilyn is one of those artists who’s comfortable singing in many diverse formats, " says George Duke, Innocent Of Nothing’s producer and long-time Marilyn collaborator, "She constantly looks for ways to challenge and better herself as a singer and writer, and I find working with her a continuously evolving process of creativity." Embarking on a trademark blend of jazz accents, blues intensity and pure, passionate soul, Innocent Of Nothing also takes Marilyn Scott into some thrilling new sonic realms, with original songs and inspired covers that speak directly to the hopes and fears, the wisdom and folly, of contemporary life. The result is one of the most evocative and elegant offerings in the artist’s extraordinary recording career, a lifelong creative quest chronicled on ten albums that, together, comprise one of the most significant and satisfying bodies of work in the modern musical canon. With Innocent Of Nothing, Marilyn takes that journey a giant step further with music that builds on all that’s come before even as it points in some dazzling new directions. (It should also be noted that in 2005 Marilyn found herself with the distinct honor of having two separate albums charting on the Billboard Jazz Charts simultaneously for 14 weeks Handpicked on Contemporary Jazz and Nightcap on Traditional Jazz the only vocalist in Billboard history to ever accomplish this feat.) "Every album is an opportunity to challenge yourself and your audience," Marilyn remarks. "In my experience, if you take them to a good place, they’ll trust you when you venture into unexplored territory." It’s a creative strategy that pays off brilliantly on Innocent Of Nothing. Following 2005’s acclaimed Handpicked, a collection of some of her favorite songs from a wide stylistic range, Innocent Of Nothing takes a decidedly different tack. "I think the best music can help people to understand more about themselves and the world they live in," Marilyn asserts. "With these songs I’ve tried to express what matters to me, and my hope is that they will provide a point of connection with others." They do, indeed. From the wry and revealing insights of "Icebox" to the swooning cinematic imagery of "A Flame;" from the sadder-but-wiser sentiments of "Round And Round," to the powerful plea of "A Change," it is clear that Marilyn is revealing rich, resonant and intensely personal aspects of herself through melody and lyric. In the process, she is bringing that same honesty and intensity to an inspired selection of covers. Her rendition of Thelonious Monk’s "Round Midnight" stands as one of the most original and affecting versions ever recorded of that classic, while her interpretation of "It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)", Bob Dylan’s potent protest song, is nothing short of a revelation. The same might be said for two selections that stand as the center of this remarkable album. "Moods," with its haunting spoken interlude, evokes the deepest and most delicate emotional shades, while "The Wilderness" uses poetic metaphors to express an urgent environmental message. The singular achievement of Innocent Of Nothing is ably abetted by a world-class line-up of supporting musicians headed by producer George Duke, who has worked closely with Marilyn on many of her most notable recordings, including 2004’s Nightcap (a Top 10 Jazz record and the best-selling album of Marilyn’s career-to-date), as well as 1998’s Grammy-nominated "The Look Of Love" from Avenues Of Love. Also on hand for the Innocent Of Nothing sessions, an inestimable backing band that includes bassists Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets) and Brian Bromberg; drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and percussionist Lenny Castro; keyboardists Patrice Rushen, Russell Ferrante (Yellowjackets) and John Beasley; saxophonist Steve Tavaglione; guitarists Ray Fuller and Mike Miller and others. If those names seem familiar, it’s no surprise. "I’ve worked with a lot of these guys for a long time," Marilyn explains. "George has a way of bringing together just the right combination of players and because we know each other so well, we’ve developed a creative shorthand that makes playing a real joy. I think that comes across in the music." "Marilyn Scott is passionate about her music and her message," says Jimmy Haslip of the Yellowjackets. "She is extremely honest in her conviction to convey the truth through her art; to share her love of music with the poeticism of warmth and hope to all mankind." Recorded late last year in just three days at Duke’s home studio in Los Angeles, Innocent Of Nothing does indeed bear all the consummately crafted earmarks of accomplished players in a seamless musical mesh. But for all it’s extemporaneous flair, the album also reflects a well-disciplined songwriting craft that has distinguished Marilyn from the beginning of her long career which included such hit recordings as "You Don’t Know Me," "I’m Calling You," "The Last Day," and "Don’t Let Love Get Away." "Writing is the most consistent part of what I do," Marilyn concludes. "I love playing live because of the direct connection with the audience and being in the studio is a great creative stimulus. But none of it would work without the songs. Whether I’m writing them, co-writing them or just discovering other people’s material for myself, it’s songs that seem to express most clearly who I am and what makes a difference to me." And, with Innocent Of Nothing, Marilyn Scott is about to make a difference to music lovers of every persuasion.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Marilyn Scott
  • CD Title: Innocent Of Nothing
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Record Label: Prana Entertainment
  • Short URL: http://jazzreview.com/qwy
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