Veteran jazz educator and trumpeter Dave Scott has a lot to offer in his second Steeplechase CD, contributing seven demanding originals. With tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, pianist Gary Versace, bassist John Hebert and drummer Jeff Williams, all of whom work with Scott from time to time (while also appearing on Scott's Song for Amy), the band was able to flesh out the trumpeter's songs during live gigs prior to entering the studio. The constantly shifting "Chromaddict" is simultaneously dark and inviting, with a punchy unison line by Scott and Perry. Versace introduces the mournful "Naiveté" alone, with the piece rapidly becoming very intricate as the full quintet is added. "Nothing Is Sacred" is easily the most dramatic piece of the session, with the horns often simultaneously improvising over Versace's delicious vamp. Dave Scott's music demands full attention to appreciate its depth, so it is easily recommended to post-bop fans with a taste for something new.
This album is inspired by Richard Shulman's experience of Assisi, Italy, where he spent some time with a meditation group in 1988. He returned to Assisi a year later with his synthesizer and computer, determined to express the feelings of Divine Love that he felt pervading this holy place. The musical results are infused with a sacred feeling of peace and contentment. Synthesized strings set much of the mood and the compositions have a strong resemblance to the slow movements of Bach organ preludes. The liner notes are extensive and describe the inspiration behind each of the eleven pieces. If The Fairy Ring is your cup of tea, then you will enjoy this sacred brew.
Sadly, the majority of Tex Owens' official commercial recordings, done for RCA-Victor in 1936, are missing.
Still, this CD runs to 22 tracks, encompassing the four songs he cut as a solo artist for Decca in August of 1934, his Texas Rangers collaboration "Dude Ranch Parts 1 and 2," and the four 1953-1954 sides for Wrightman. The rest are previously unissued demos of unknown origin or date, licensed from Owens' widow and comprising songs that only show up on lists of Tex's compositions, not his recordings.
The sound is generally good, with only moderate noise on the worst of the masters. Owens' demos are nearly as engaging as his formal recordings, and surprisingly include some backing musicians, as well as Owens' requisite guitar. Highlights, in addition to the title track and the pair of songs with the Texas Rangers, include "Daddy's Old Rocking Chair," "Cowboy Call," and "Don't Hide Your Tears My Darling."