Tom Scott & The L.A. Express: Tiom Scott (saxophone, woodwinds, moog synthesizer, lyricon, percussion); Joni Mitchell (vocals); Larry Nash (electric piano, organ, ARP synthesizer); Robben Ford (acoustic & electric guitars); Max Bennett (bass); John Guerin (drums, percussion).
Despite the absence of Joe Sample and Larry Carlton, Tom Scott's L.A. Express remains very Crusaders-influenced on Tom Cat -- a highly accessible jazz-funk-R&B date that, as commercial as it is, leaves room for inspired blowing courtesy of both the leader and sidemen like electric guitarist Robben Ford and keyboardist Larry Nash. Sweaty, hard-hitting jazz-funk is the rule on such down-home grooves as "Good Evening Mr. & Mrs. America & All the Ships" and "Day Way," which allow the players to let loose, blow, and say what needs to be said. "Love Poem" is a pleasant, likable piece of delicate mood music (but not "Muzak"!) that features wordless vocals by pop-folk singer Joni Mitchell and has a slightly Flora Purim-ish appeal. Unfortunately, a CD as good as Tom Cat serves as a reminder of how dreadfully unimaginative most of Scott's GRP albums are. ~ Alex Henderson