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Island Mele: Scott guides Paiva on jazz journey
BY JOHN BERGER / email@example.com
“One good turn deserves another” is the foundation of this newly released album by Brittni Paiva and master musician Tom Scott.
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Brittni Paiva (Brittni Paiva Music)
Scott, a three-time Grammy Award-winner with recording credits going back more than 40 years, appeared as a featured guest on Paiva’s 2011 DVD, “Living Ukulele,” and previously in the Kenneth K. Martinez Burgmaier documentary film on Paiva that provided most of the content of the DVD. He returns that favor here as the producer, arranger, engineer, primary musician and dominant partner of this mainstream instrumental jazz project.
It’s not surprising that Paiva, a young woman from the Big Island, defers to an older and far more experienced musician in conceptualizing and developing the project, but Scott’s contributions are so extensive in shaping the sound of the project that the results are more his work than they are hers. To put it another way, Scott deserves equal billing.
On several songs there is a true sense of partnership and Paiva’s ukulele is fully engaged with Scott’s broad pallet of instruments (The famed saxophonist also provides woodwinds, brass, strings, keyboards, drums and percussion). The title track is an excellent introduction to the partnership. Two Paiva originals — “Friends” and “Alive” — are also fine showcase numbers for her.
On others she shares the spotlight with Scott and a second celebrity. Chuck Findley adds the mellow textures of flugelhorn to a beautiful arrangement of “A Taste of Honey,” guitarist Ray Parker Jr. puts an aggressive rock edge on “Comin’ Home Baby” and Arturo Sandoval lights things up on “Mira,” a Scott composition, with his virtuoso work on trumpet. Several other cuts display Scott’s talent as an arranger; his take on an Eddie Harris tune, “Cold Duck Time,” has an irresistible rhythm groove to it.
Paiva fits in quite nicely on “A Taste of Honey” but is largely eclipsed on some of the others. For instance, she’s in there playing along when Michael McDonald sings “I Keep Forgettin’” but the arrangement is much more about McDonald revisiting one of his most memorable hits than it is about Paiva and her ukulele.
In the larger scheme of things though this album could be Paiva’s introduction to Scott’s world-wide audience and become her formal debut in jazz circles.