The problem isn't the artists, the record companies, the Internet or anything that the typical record reviewer points to to simply dismiss the loads of the crap that are passing for pop, rock, jazz, country, gospel, et cetera, in a forgettable 750-word article.
The problem is in us, the consumers. We don't support who we love enough (just about every artist has a webpage with new releases, so it's nearly impossible to miss the new releases if you check there regularly), and we accept the status quo too easily instead of making our voices heard. We turn off the radio, but we don't tell the station whay we're downloading our favorites onto our iPods instead.
I haven't written my letter to WQMG yet (We love Luther and Earth Wind & Fire, but damn, can you play something else occasionally please?) but I am going out after a long period of boredom with new releases, and buying CDs from artists I love again.
One of those people I've liked for a while is Marilyn Scott (above). She's a smooth jazz vocalist who's been recording for years, but has completely flown under the radar of pop music. Pretty much the only place you'll hear her is on jazz radio or in Japan, where she is quite popular.
I had a chance to pick up a greatest hits collection from her called Handpicked. And handpicked it is. Sixteen tracks in all, carefully selected from Marilyn's favorite songs from throughout her career. She conferred with music retailers across the country to collaborate with the community that supports her music to determine which key songs from various releases be made available on one CD. The result is nothing short of impressive.
But don't just take my word for it:
Anyway, it's a great CD and you should pick it up if you like good music.
From the beginning Scott has collaborated with some of the most inventive and accomplished musicians in contemporary jazz.
She and Russell Ferrante began working together when they were both still playing small clubs and he has been an ongoing contributor both as a writer and sideman. George Duke produced, played, and wrote on her two Warner Brothers releases. The star-heavy lineup has stayed consistent through 10 years and three labels: Duke, Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip, Paul Jackson Jr., Vinnie Coliuta, Everette Harp, Paulino De Costa, Michael Landau, Freddie Washington, Bob Mintzer, Brandon Fields, and Will Kennedy.
The arrangements are simply superb. They enhance Scott’s vocals without overwhelming them or fading into the background. Every song has ear grabbing instrumental nuances; from solos to small passages where every note accentuates the theme and mood of the song. There is a place where adult oriented pop music intersects with contemporary jazz at the highest common denominator and it is in every song on this CD. (reference)
Also reccomended is the new Boney James release Shine and Gary Taylor's new CD, Retro Blackness. I also bought Dwele's first CD, Subject, but it hasn't exactly grown on me yet.