Marilyn Scott, California-based, but world-renowned jazz and R&B vocalist traces her evolution from background singer with George Duke, Spyra Gyra, Yellowjackets, Etta James and Tower of Power, to 40 years as a solo artist. She discussed her career and the upcoming release of her latest effort, Standard Blue (Prana Entertainment) on the March 17 edition of Java Jazz as the spotlight artist.
Click here for the interview.
Scott jump-started her career after being discovered by tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo, one of the founding members of Tower of Power.
The program included some amusing recollections from Castillo about his initial meeting with Scott when she was filled with self doubt about her ability to become a professional singer.
She would go on to be part of the sessions for TOP’s Back to Oakland, Urban Renewal and In The Slot — released between 1974-75 — and Power in 1987. Scott, Bootche Anderson and Pepper Watkins provided backing vocals on a number of TOP tracks and the trio was all over the New Riders of The Purple Sage’s oft-overlooked 1975 album Oh, What A Mighty Time, especially on covers of “Take A Letter, Maria” and “I Heard You Been Layin’ My Old Lady.”
In 1977, Scott launched her solo career with a single of the Beach Boys’ classic, “God Only Knows.” In 1979, her first long player came out, Dreams of Tomorrow, which lead to duets with Bobby Caldwell, Brenda Russell and Frank McComb.
Scott signed with Warner Brothers in 1996 for her Take Me With You release which included such luminaries as George Duke, Russell Ferrante, Boney James, Jimmy Haslip, Joe Sample and Bob James participating in sessions. On her Walking with Strangers in 2001, Scott and McComb duetted on the Don Raye-Gene de Paul soul classic, “You Don’t Know What Love Is.”
Her soulful vibe comes through on her original work as well, including “Give In,” “No Room for Hate” and “Wilderness.”