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Guitarist Mike Scott Releases 'Collecting Things,' Featuring Joe Bagg, Darek Oles And Jake Reed

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Dynamically expressive jazz guitar work… Jazz guitar 'purists' will fall in love immediately with Mike’s technique... —Dick Metcalf, Contemporary Fusion Reviews
Collecting Things, the newest recording by guitarist and composer Mike Scott, is a pastiche of music styles mostly penned by Scott and performed by some of the top jazz musicians in Southern California. This is the third album by Scott as a leader and follows Fallen Peach (2011) and Good Place To Be (2000). The L.A. Weekly says, “Like the author of this subtle record, the music won't hit you over the head with precocious braggadocio or mind-numbing complexity. The album reflects the warmth of Mike's calm and sunny demeanor, yet it underscores a depth of thought and emotion that supplies substance to its great aesthetics."

Born in Fukuoka, Japan, while his father was stationed overseas, Scott grew up in Ohio, New Jersey, and Arizona before moving to Southern California at the age of 18 to pursue a career in music. He earned a bachelor's and master's degree in Music Performance from the University of Southern California and is currently a full-time faculty member at Fullerton College.

Scott has performed around the United States and abroad in jazz clubs and concert halls, such as Walt Disney Concert Hall and with the New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. He has also recorded for television and film soundtracks, played as a sideman on numerous CD projects, and performed with well- known names in jazz. A mainstay on the Los Angeles jazz scene for over 20 years, Scott is also a founding member of The Los Angeles Jazz Collective, a group of musicians working to build a stronger jazz community in Southern California through education and live performances.

Scott enlisted a powerhouse rhythm section for Collecting Things. Each musician is a leader in his own right. Joe Bagg plays piano and organ on this project. Besides accompanying many renowned artists, he has appeared for the last 15 years on DownBeat Magazine's Critics and Readers Polls for his organ playing. Darek Oles is one of the most in-demand bass players in the country. He’s performed with a Who’s Who of jazz luminaries in hundreds of concerts throughout America, Europe, and Asia, as well as having appeared on at least 100 albums. Drummer Jake Reed has gained a reputation for his ability to fit into a variety of musical configurations, performing and recording with everyone from Bill Holman, Johnny Mandel, and Cow Bop to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra.

A jazz guitarist with classical training, Scott is known for his lyrical and soulful approach. Scott says, “Classical guitar playing involves extensive use of your right hand. Each finger plays a different sound, allowing you to control the dynamics and expressive quality of each note individually.” His writing is influenced by swing, classical music, and the blues. He composed all of the tunes on this album except for “On a Clear Day,” which he includes because he loves the melody and his arrangement that has a 7/4 time signature and a relaxed, island vibe.

The first two compositions on this recording are “Sol Minor Prelude,” and “Sol Minor.” He plays solo guitar on “Sol Minor Prelude” on a nylon string classical guitar. The name refers to solfege, and the concept for the tune grew out of the third open string on the guitar, which is tuned to a G. Scott experimented with various colors and sounds that he could harmonize to that one note, which led him to a series of chord progressions with the open G string ringing throughout the piece. He plays most of the tune on the first four strings, giving it a darker hue. The entire band joins Scott on “Sol Minor,” a fast jazz waltz whose harmonic structure works well for the band to improvise over.

Scott originally wrote “Now and Later” for a chamber music concert that involved a flute, oboe, trumpet, guitar, and percussion. He pared down the arrangement for just guitar, bass, and drums, eschewing the piano for this composition. “Jack’s Dilemma,” which Scott named for his dog, is an homage to traditional blues. The song opens with Scott soloing on guitar and features Bagg’s soulful organ playing. “Boom Diddle It” is an up-tempo swing tune. Scott approximates on his guitar the rhythmic feel of a drummer.

The drums lay out on “Dark Bossa.” Scott plays classical guitar, highlighting the tune’s haunting melody while Bagg weaves delicate colors on the piano throughout. “Rondo” is an up-tempo number inspired by Brazilian guitarist Guinga, featuring Scott playing finger-style classical guitar. “Coda” is a rock influenced composition featuring Bagg on organ. A duet featuring guitar and drums, Scott wrote “49” on his 49th birthday. Reed plays an aggressive rock beat beneath Scott’s acoustic guitar.

Mike Scott is an engaging, versatile guitarist and composer with a style that is distinctly his own. From swing to classical to blues and rock, the compositions on Collecting Things reflect the many musicians and musical styles that have inspired Scott over the years. The music is beautifully crafted and the performances by these top-notch artists are assured and full of heart.

Collecting Things is set for release on January 22, 2021 and will be available online everywhere.

This story appears courtesy of Mouthpiece Music.
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