“Certainly, in the moment, I’m not thinking notes. I’m thinking sounds or rhythms – even then I’m not thinking, it’s just coming out,” said jazz vocalist Cindy Scott, set to perform at Mud and Water on Wednesday, March 5th. Her show will serve as the second installment of Jive Flamingo’s Jazz Series, as well as the after-party to Gregory Porter’s concert at the Manship Theater.
Scott, a Best of the Beat nominee three years in a row, took home the prize for the Best Contemporary Jazz Record award in 2010, and has continued to make huge strides since.
As an LSU alum, she used her MBA to work for a multi-national corporation in Houston. Scott recorded her first album there by collaborating with musicians from a steady jazz club gig. She pursued a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of New Orleans in 2005, and later ended up writing and recording her second album.
“In the first two years that I lived here I grew by leaps and bounds, musically, because there’s this spirit of not any kind of purist tendency. Music is music,” Scott said.
“Once I had that freedom, then I was free to tap into the influences that were inside of me that I didn’t recognize as part of my music,” she continued, “like classical flute, like all the folk songs I grew up singing with my family, or all the R&B stuff that I could mimic as a kid.”
The performance practice of a jazz musician relies on improvisation, something Scott has owned as a way of life.
“I’ve worked really hard to be free enough to be able to create on the spot all the time,” she said. “But so has any jazz musician on any instrument, that’s just what the genre is.”
Now finished with production and printing of her third album, Historia, Scott has two upcoming CD release parties, one in Baton Rouge on March 15th, and the other in New Orleans on March 16th. For Scott, the show at Mud and Water is a nice way to give audiences a taste of her material from past albums and a preview of what’s to come.
Scott’s concept for the newest album came within a year after the death of her father, an integral figure in her musical upbringing.
“I was kind of thinking about what he had given me, and what my parents had given me, and ‘Who was I?’ and ‘What’s the meaning of life?’” Scott said. “I wanted to honor all the music they had given me, and the fact that my musicianship comes a lot from them, and also a lot from my own explorations and my writing. I just wanted to be very much myself and still produce what I consider a straight ahead record.”
Historia features one entirely original composition, “What’s Comin’ Atcha,” and about half of the tracks use original arrangements on standard jazz and folk songs.
Special guest and four-time Grammy nominee Karrin Allyson can be heard, as well as a dynamite band filled out by Randy Porter, piano; Dan Loomis, Bass; Jamison Ross, drums and vocals; Brian Seeger, guitar; Evan Christopher, clarinet; and Shannon Powell, tambourine.
“The first time we got together for dinner I knew it was going to be great,” Scott said. “They just all loved each other, and they love me, and I love them… It was really the sweetest of all the sessions I’ve done,” she continued.
Her title track, “Historia de un Amor,” is an Hispanic tune commonly sung in the uplifting dance style of a bolero. Scott interpreted the original lyrics to reveal a somber feeling of loss, one that is present throughout the recording.
“Historia means story. So, it’s sort of a tribute to that song, and it’s sort of like, ‘Well this is my story right now; this is where I am; this is who I am,’” she revealed.
“I think it’s appropriate that art captures the things that people go through that everybody can relate to,” Scott said, referring to the upcoming album. “I hope that this sort of spans that gamut. I want those emotions there, and I also want the feeling of hope to be part of the message.”
For the Wednesday night show at Mud and Water, Scott will be joined by guest saxophonist Brad Walker. Their combined efforts are sure to bring a rare energy to Baton Rouge’s music scene.
“You know, as a musician or an artist period, your always trying to figure out what it is that makes you different from anybody else,” Scott said. “Or, ‘What do I have; what are my strengths; what are my gifts?’ And I think that story telling, in that way, is mine.”