A renowned former army scout is hired by ranchers to hunt down rustlers but finds himself on trial for the murder of a boy when he carries out his job too well. Tom Horn finds that the simple skills he knows are of no help in dealing with the ambitions of ranchers and corrupt officials as progress marches over him and the old west.
A shamelessly contrived effort, Keep This Love Alive is, for the most part, yet another tremendous waste of Tom Scott's talents. There are a few enjoyable moments here, including guest Dianne Schurr's sensuous vocal on "Whenever You Dream of Me" and Scott's gritty jazz-funk blowing on "Mis Thang." But on the whole, this CD is a throwaway by both jazz and pop standards. R&B/pop singer Brenda Russell is anything but memorable on the bloodless adult-contemporary song "If You're Not the One for Me," and most of the instrumentals would sound boring and lackluster even in a dentist's office. Throwing creativity to the wind, Scott leaves no doubt that his only concern is commercial radio airplay. The saxman recorded more than his share of stinkers for GRP in the 1980s and '90s, and Keep This Love Alive is at the top of the list.
While most musicians wind up pigeonholed into very strict stylistic trappings throughout their career, Tom Scott has f ound challenges and success playing all formats of jazz on his solo projects and as leader of the GRP All Star Big Band (in the early 90s). It was fun following his muse in the middle of the decade, as he ventured back to his straightahead roots on 1992's Born Again, then was back to the funk on this rousing jam session. Working with old and new friends like Grover Washington, Jr., Paul Jackson, Jr., Dave Witham, David Paich, Luis Conte, Eric Gale and Robben Ford, Scott mixes his own material with some contributions from the outside.
Following two albums with a reconstituted L.A. Express, Bluestreak and Smokin' Section, Tom Scott returns to solo frontman duties on his Higher Octave Jazz debut, New Found Freedom, but he does so with a large number of guests. Those guests help broaden the styles of music available on the release, although Scott's own saxophone work remains a touchstone and everything on the disc will be easily programmable on smooth jazz radio. Indeed, the variety gives programmers many choices. Craig Chaquico, a fellow veteran of the 1970s rock scene and now a labelmate, joins Scott with some characteristic acoustic guitar work on the becalmed opener, "Feelin' It," after which adult contemporary singer Ann Nesby croons "You Are My Everything" while Billy Preston joins in on organ.
Grapefruit Moon: The Songs of Tom Waits is Southside's tribute to one of his favorite songwriters, but also a pet sound: big band music. The idea to marry the brassy, ballsy sound of a big band to Tom Waits' cinematic, character-driven songs has been sitting in the back of Southside's mind for sometime.
During the gold-rush days, Tom Horn is jailed for an assay office holdup at Gold City, after he loses his money and horse to cardsharp Blackie. Tom escapes with cell-mate Morgan, when the latter's men, Mingo, Red and Curly, rescue him from the jail. Mingo, and most of the gang, dislike Tom and they have lean times until Tom, using Morgan's gun, robs the Blue Goose Mining Company, where Julie works. The gang hides out in a ghost town from where they rob a train, and Tom saves Morgan's life. Tom and Julie become sweethearts, and he promises her wealth and a trip to San Francisco. But the gang begins to unravel.