by Jeff Becker
David Thorne Scott is currently an Associate Professor of Voice at Berklee College of Music. David received a B.A., Magna Cum Laude in English and music from Drew University (Madison, NJ), an A.A.A. in Professional Music from the School for Music Vocations (Creston, IA), and a M.M. in Jazz Vocal Performance from the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL). He studied jazz under Phil Mattson and Larry Lapin, and currently studies voice with Mark Baxter.
Scott’s latest adventure is an intimate duet setting that features piano great Mark Shilansky, whose ability to comp and convey a rich frame work of sound, is the cornerstone that allows Scott to lift DYAD to new heights. Scott and Shilansky weave an intricate tapestry of beauty and harmonic colors that create a unique storyline from track to track. Each track shows a different side of Scott’s voice and Shilansky’s playing.
The CD begins with an Oscar Hammerstein classic, “The Song is You.” Scott’s voice is very different than most male vocalists. His crystalline tone and sprite attack of notes give the listener and clear and joyful experience into the most intimate setting where no vocal “sin” can be hidden by supporting instruments. Shilansky creates another layer of intricacy and command with active lines and colorful expressions within each space. A brief scat section showcases another aspect of Scott’s voice with rhythmic minutiae.
“Fall into You,” a Scott original, begins with a commanding piano and vocal entrance…Timber…Thunder….Scott articulately navigates through a wordy lyric with ease and grace, while Shilansky creates a moody canvas for him with complete left and right hand individual command. Sweeping vocals and poignant moments make this an inviting cut.
A Hal Galper and David Scott cut “Night’s Affair with Day” showcases quick and short stabbing Latin passages with masterful vocal control. Again, Scott highlights his ability to scat with ease, breathing life into the Galper/Scott original.
“Grow,” in my opinion, is a shining moment on this vocal and piano duet affair. Written by Scott, this cut truly showcases the best qualities in Scott’s voice. Clear diction, warm tones and stellar vocal control over each note, no excuses….strong delivery and fabulous lyrics. Scott truly emphasizes his true strengths in this cut.
DYAD is a journey of textures and colors not for the occasional listener of vocal jazz. This is cerebral vocal jazz that demands you to listen, think and pay attention. Scott and Shilansky have created an opportunity for a unique addition to any jazz collection, a true jazz vocal excursion worth finding!!