There are two very obvious things about smooth jazz mainstay Kim Scott.
She can flute. And she can funk. And those two virtuouso elements are again prevalent in her newest album, Free To Be. The album is the 4th from the Alabama –based singer, flutist, songwriter and music teacher, released on Innervision Records and again Scott blends her mellifluously addictive and airy melodies with brilliant soul-jazz rhythms and vibes. No ethereal, circular melodies that contain no real start or end point from this gal. Joining her on the project are some very impressive smooth jazz colleagues, whose collaborative talents bring even more dimensionality to the album.
Scott is joined by the young saxophonista sensation, Jazmin Ghent, on the opening and title song, and the synergy between the two is magnificent on this superbly polished funky track. Emerge, the first release from Free To Be, is yet another moving track with rich bass and rhythm, and the added gleam of pianist Jonathan Fritzen’s elegance on the keys.
Scott’s current chart hit, Take It To Rink, keeps the hands clapping, and is accented by a searing guitar solo by Eric Essex. Somewhat flummoxed by the funk melody and title, I reached out to Scott to find out the predicate for her hit. She explained, “My father was an avid roller skater while my siblings and I were growing up. He taught my brothers and me how to skate and we spent many weekends at the rink. I remember how happy it made me feel to speed around that rink listening to great music with friends and family”. She went on to add, “As I was driving along the interstate one night, the chorus of the song came to my mind. It immediately made me smile and think about the type of music I heard at the rink. It made me want to "Take it to the Rink" and have some fun in that moment.”
Scott collaborates with smooth jazz icon James K. Lloyd of the venerable duo Pieces Of A Dream, on the Lloyd composed No Worries. While a more laid back, yet still rhythmic track, Scott’s flute and vocal accents are a sheer compliment to Lloyd’s famously stylish piano talents. And speaking of vocals, gifted with a voice I have long admired, Scott offers her only full vocal track, You And Me, featuring Kelvin Wooten. R’n’B and romance blend beautifully on this bouncy soul appealing love groove. The nine song offering is capped off by a song stunningly serene and spiritually uplifting called The Prayer, perhaps a metaphorical song closing the album as one would conclude one's day with this nightly ritual.
In a music genre where flutists are a rare commodity, Free To Be is distinctively fresh, deliciously funky, and steeped in cool sophistication.
Reviewed by Stu Berketo
On-air Host Wave.fm