Tom Scott Biography

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19 May 1948, Los Angeles, California, USA. Scott’s mother - Margery Wright - was a pianist, his father - Nathan Scott - a film and television composer. Scott played clarinet in high school and won a teenage competition with his Neoteric Trio at the Hollywood Bowl in 1965. He learned all the saxophones and played in the studios for television shows such as Ironside. He performed on Roger Kellaway’s Spirit Feel in 1967, playing fluent alto and soprano over a proto-fusion encounter of hard bop and rock music. As a member of Spontaneous Combustion in 1969, he played on Come And Stick Your Head In, an experimental record in the jazz rock idiom. His own records - Honeysuckle Breeze and Rural Still Life - presented a tight, forceful jazz funk.

From his early twenties Scott wrote prolifically for television and movies (including Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes), his sound becoming the blueprint for LA cop-show soundtracks: urgent, funky, streamlined. His band the L.A. Express, featuring Larry Carlton and Joe Sample, became one of the most successful fusion bands of the 70s. Joni Mitchell used them as her backing band on Miles Of Aisles (and guested on 1974’s Tom Cat) and George Harrison played slide guitar on New York Connection. His work for GRP Records in subsequent decades demonstrated Scott’s burgeoning interest in samples of ethnic instruments, but otherwise were largely unimpressive and formulaic smooth jazz. Born Again, a non-fusion jazz session released in 1992, was a welcome exception to the rule. Bluestreak (1996) and Smokin’ Section (1999) reunited him with a revamped L.A. Express.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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