Tom Scott may still be my favorite saxophonist today. Not because he would have such a breathtaking technique at his disposal – he probably has, but I can’t judge it – but because he simply plays incredibly beautiful melodies, and in addition dynamically and rhythmically stirring.
I’ll probably dig up a few more pearls from his back catalogue over time. But the first one is “Maybe I’m Amazed” – a lesser known Paul McCartney composition from the “Northern Songs” album, written immediately after the Beatles break and dedicated to Paul’s wife Linda. In the USA the single ended up in tenth place. After all. But for the Beatles: a flop. Nevertheless, a few prominent names tried their hand at the smooth song, including Joe Cocker, J.C. Croce, Nancy Sinatra and the Rabauken von den Faces. But I was taken with the instrumental version of Tom Scott, released on the 1982 album “Desire”. The work took Scott, so it was in the liner notes and impressed me a lot, completely live. With a first-class musician’s guard – such as Michael Landau, Jerry Hey, Ernie Watts and Vinnie Colaiuta – this of course succeeded. So good, or better said: so perfect, that you look in vain for a spontaneous live atmosphere. That’s why Tom Scott, the former bebop freak and John Coltrane disciple, should sound much too smooth and commercial for jazz purists even with this recording. But the fact that the Californian elicits wonderful sounds from his tenor saxophone should be beyond question even for his sharpest critics. And his solo in the emotional, rhythmically syncopated track equipped with a beautiful gospel piano? Simply great. My favourite part comes after about three minutes: a razor-sharp brass section in the bridge makes the sun rise. “Maybe I’m Amazed” – no question, it was me then and it still is today.