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But Beautiful - Jazz Standards: Volume I

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Album Review

Apparently, old rock singers who have exhausted their commercial appeal and have sung all the pop and soul standards have but one place to turn — the American popular songbook. Linda Ronstadt pioneered this move in the '80s, Rod Stewart picked it up at the turn of the century, and, now no longer at Virgin, Boz Scaggs picks up the torch with 2003's But Beautiful, a ten-track trawl through standards like "What's New?," "How Long Has This Been Going On?," and "Sophisticated Lady." It should be no surprise that Scaggs is not deliberately following Stewart's footsteps — in his liner notes, he says his old friend Jimmy Pierre initiated the project years ago with a list of songs he thought Boz should sing, and then pianist/arranger Paul Nagel later encouraged him to begin this project — but it can't help but feel that way, given the number of old rockers turning to the music their parents loved. Scaggs, thankfully, doesn't take the lush, orchestrated route, choosing to record with a small quartet featuring Nagel, saxophonist Eric Crystal, bassist John Shifflett, and drummer Jason Lewis. They have a nice, late-night feel — nothing adventurous, but well-done — and Scaggs is appropriately laid-back, which doesn't necessarily mean that he's well-suited for this material. His off-hand phrasing sometimes is too casual and he delivers the tunes predictably, never finding a way to make these much-heard songs sound fresh. That doesn't mean this sounds bad, because it doesn't; it's an entirely pleasant listen. But even longtime Boz Scaggs fans may not find a reason to spin this more than once.

Customer Reviews

I would like to hear volume 2

Incomparably better than the singers mentioned in the blurb above doing these so-called 'standards'. Very soulful versions - You Don't What Love Is sounds better than Billy Eckstine's version and that's saying something. Terrific!


Born: 08 June 1944 in Canton, OH

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After first finding acclaim as a member of the Steve Miller Band, singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs went on to enjoy considerable solo success in the 1970s. Born William Royce Scaggs in Ohio on June 8, 1944, he was raised in Oklahoma and Texas, and while attending prep school in Dallas met guitarist Steve Miller. Scaggs joined Miller's group the Marksmen as a vocalist in 1959, and the pair later attended the University of Wisconsin together, where they played in blues bands like the Ardells and the Fabulous...
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But Beautiful - Jazz Standards: Volume I, Boz Scaggs
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