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.
|Label:||Gray Cat Records|
Performance CreditsBoz Scaggs Primary Artist,Vocals
John Shifflett Bass
Paul Nagel Piano
Jason Lewis Drums
Eric Crystal Saxophone
Technical CreditsJohn Martyn Composer
Boz Scaggs Producer,Liner Notes
Jeff Cressman Engineer
Gene DePaul Composer
Steve MacMillan Engineer
Don Raye Composer
Paul Nagel Arranger
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.