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"Jazz Monthly Feature Interview" Marilyn Scott
Interview by Baldwin "Smitty" Smith

marilyn ScottJazz Monthly: My next guest just happens to be one of my favorite singers in the world.  Her voice is one of eternal beauty, with the essence of elegance, character and wisdom.  She’s just about to release another great new project. It’s called Innocent of Nothing. Please give a warm welcome for the incredible Prana recording artist Marilyn Scott. Marilyn, how ya doin’?

Marilyn Scott (MS):  Excellent today, thank you. Thank you very much for that nice intro.

Jazz Monthly:  You’re so welcome, and well deserved, I might add. Well, you’re just struttin’ about here. You’ve got this great new CD.  You have reason to be very excited.  I love this.  It’s a great mix of music and you’ve got a great supporting cast of musicians. It’s just an incredible project. 

MS:  I’m glad you’re feeling that. It’s was a fun thing to do. After you get done with it, it takes a few months….several months for it to get close to where it’s gonna come out and you kind of walk away from it, and then when you get close to when it’s coming out, you go wow, it’s time to get excited again because you feel like you’re sort of in a corral waiting to be let go.

Jazz Monthly:  Yes, this is a follow-up to your last couple of projects, not to mention the others, but wow, Nightcap and Handpicked and just when we thought you were out of breath, look at you. This is incredible.

MS:  Well, I’m glad I made an impact on you because sometimes you think, oh my gosh, is that gonna transcend? But there’s been so much to do out there and there’s so much to write about that it’s refreshing to be able to have a chance to play it and bring it to the people.

Jazz Monthly:  Yes. And speaking of Nightcap and Handpicked, you accomplished something that has never been done before.

MS:  True.

Jazz Monthly: You had a traditional and a contemporary jazz project on the charts together for 14 weeks. Wow!

MS:  It’s really interesting, because you’d feel that there’s a lot more that’s done that, so I’m glad I was able to do that, and we did put out the collection then not long after Nightcap, and I think that’s a good collection for people who aren’t familiar with my work, and there’s a lot of folks out there that don’t know about my work, so I thought that was a good thing to bring out, and bring out the different performances of a lot of the artists that they already know about.

Jazz Monthly: Yes. That was an excellent time to do it too, I think, because, like you mentioned, perhaps some people may not have known about your music, but, man, do they know now. 

MS:  Oh, that’s sweet. Thanks.

Jazz Monthly:  Yes, and you always have such interesting things to….and I say “talk about” in your music, but it’s like a nice discussion about things that are on the minds of everybody.  I think that’s just a beautiful thing to do because you don’t see that or hear that every day.

MS:  I can’t stop writing and thinking about things like that. I kinda damn myself a lot of the time thinking that I should be much more wholesome and reachable as far as what people are listening to, but I tend to keep going back to issues that are important that I guess that I see around me and I just keep trying to figure out how I’m gonna write that out and make it interesting to listen to. And when you kinda put that thought with someone that you want to write with and you also feel that they feel the same way, usually it comes out to some interesting music. And that’s what you hope for.

Jazz Monthly:  Yes. Speaking of that, not only what you have to say in your music is thought provoking and just a mind-bending thing for us to really dwell on and think about, but it could evoke some solutions and not to mention the nice melodies and grooves that come with it. It’s like being in a think tank and now you have these challenges in front of you and the music sort of puts you in the mode of “Well, how do we deal with this?”

MS:  I am in jazz music and usually jazz is an improvisational type of arena. That’s what most of the artists do. But when it comes to vocalists, if you don’t scat sing, and I’ve never felt myself as a scat singer, so trying to find a really interesting melody, one that a great player would go after, a great keyboard player, a great trumpet player, a great sax player…people who really try to bring a great melody to the piece that they’re writing.  That’s what I’m trying to do because it’s another way of improvising, and you feel a strictness when you listen to it, but when you can see it live, then it’s a lot freer, it’s a lot more fun to listen to as a vocalist, I think.

Jazz Monthly:  Yeah. I felt that vibe, I know, when I first heard the record and, by the way, I can’t stop playing this one. This is a great record. 

MS:  Well, that’s nice of you to say.

Jazz Monthly: Yes.  And my favorite tune…

MS:  Tell me.

Jazz Monthly:“A Change.”

MS:  Oh really?

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