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But Beautiful
     

But Beautiful

5.0 4
by Boz Scaggs
 

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Decades ago, Boz Scaggs broke out of his role as second banana in the Steve Miller Band to take the lead as an enduring blue-eyed soul singer. Several of his recordings -- the recent Dig and 1999’s Fade into Light are two that come to mind -- have reflected a late-night blue image. The vocal persona has often been supported by Scaggs’ use of players

Overview

Decades ago, Boz Scaggs broke out of his role as second banana in the Steve Miller Band to take the lead as an enduring blue-eyed soul singer. Several of his recordings -- the recent Dig and 1999’s Fade into Light are two that come to mind -- have reflected a late-night blue image. The vocal persona has often been supported by Scaggs’ use of players from the jazz milieu, but the singer never recorded a complete set of jazz standards until But Beautiful. It’s an intimate recording of classics, and Scaggs is so comfortable in this skin, one wonders what took him so long to arrive at this romantic moment. There is no effort to pull scatting punches or to emulate a bop singer. Scaggs simply sings, the weariness of years on the job infusing “I Should Care,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and “What’s New” with a slightly tarnished patina. The jazz ambiance is created by pianist Scott Nagel and his trio plus saxophonist Eric Crystal. Both Nagel and Crystal tune right in to the vocalist on the Latin-style version of “Never Let Me Go,” enhancing the song’s tenderness. The title cut throbs with excitement beneath Scaggs’ gentle voice, while “For All We Know” recalls Nat King Cole’s contemplative version. The sense of swing in “Easy Living” is so understated that one hardly notices how well Scaggs handles this material. The rock ‘n’ roll boomers who have kept Scaggs’ career alive all these years might wish for more drama, but the jazz fan will thrill at finding another fine male interpreter of standards.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/06/2003
Label:
Gray Cat Records
UPC:
0698268400023
catalogNumber:
4000
Rank:
36309

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But Beautiful 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read about this CD in a magazine and decided to give it a try. I had never been a Boz Scaggs' fan before - really never heard any of his music. Why did I wait so long - this CD is fabulous. It is filled with soft jazz standards such as Sophisticated Lady and But Beautiful. Treat yourself - run out and buy "But Beautiful" - you won't be sorry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am in love. Smooth. Cool. Sexy. My socks roll up and down. Can't get enough. I think he's finally found his niche. I wish he would tour!!!! Heavy sigh.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Boz Scaggs' beautiful voice was made for this type of music. One wonders why he took so long to release an all jazz recording. This one is mellow, smooth, sexy, and "but beautiful". The tight 3-piece band, the excellent cover choices, and Boz's cool, low-key but heartfelt way with a song make this recording a treat for any jazz fan or any Boz Scaggs fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Boz Scaggs has matured into a great vocalist. Here his voice is the main instrument, and he uses it like a horn, calling and responding to saxphone played by Eric Crystal. This is a no all too familiar cross-over album. But a fine jazz record.