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Another in the latter-day parade of tradition-respecting "young lions," Stephen Scott brings a formidable technique, some of Ahmad Jamal's locked-groove obsessions, and elements of Wynton Kelly, Bud Powell, and McCoy Tyner to his work. However, Scott showed he could expand beyond his neo-bop base on The Beautiful Thing, an album with pronounced Latin and soul-jazz tendencies on some tracks. He started piano at the age of five, and progressed rapidly to the point where he was taking private lessons at Juilliard at 12. Although grounded in classical music, Scott was also exposed to reggae and salsa on the radio, but wasn't introduced to jazz until his high school years (he gives saxophonist Justin Robinson the credit for that). By the age of 18, Scott was playing in the band of singer/talent scout Betty Carter, and soon began performing or recording with the likes of the Harper Brothers, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby Watson, and Bobby Hutcherson. Beginning in 1991, Scott turned out a steady supply of mainstream albums for Verve, using mixtures of fellow young lions and esteemed veterans like Joe Henderson, Ron Carter, and Elvin Jones as sidemen; and he also played on Henderson's 1991 commercial breakthrough, Lush Life. ~ Richard S. Ginell