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Randy Scott's 'Breathe' Gives Unique Spin on Smooth Jazz

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Saxophonist and composer Randy Scott began his career with some of today's top jazz stars, including Nancy Wilson, Ronnie Laws and the group Hiroshima. But, as VOA's Doug Levine tells us, it was the music of the late sax great Grover Washington, Jr, and Scott's close friendship with Grover that he remembers most.

Had it not been for his collection of Grover Washington, Jr. albums, and his dream of someday meeting his future mentor, Randy Scott may never have traded his classical training for playing jazz. Scott says one particular album convinced him that there was no turning back.

"I memorized every note to every song, and I think the 'Winelight' record was my favorite record of all time," he recalls.

Randy Scott finally met Grover Washington, Jr., and even had the chance to perform with him. Scott says he'll always be grateful to Grover for helping him expand his musical horizons.

"His biggest piece of advice that I remember was to stick with playing classical music in addition to jazz, because it would really round me out and help with my technique and my tone development and that kind of thing," Scott says.

After attending Michigan State University on a classical music scholarship, Scott developed an enthusiasm for jazz. He began composing, producing and recording his own albums. His blending of jazz with R&B and hip-hop has kept him on the outer edges of the "smooth" jazz world, especially with his latest release Breathe.

"My challenge in doing this record was to not go totally against the grain (do something out of the ordinary) but at the same time be unique and be myself," he explains.

"Each genre has its thing (characteristics), and I have learned to really and truly appreciate every genre. I do love 'smooth jazz.' It's what I do," he adds. "At the same time, I think sometimes it can be a little bit watered-down and borderline 'elevator' (generic background) music. And I've tried really hard NOT to allow my record to fall into that category."

For more information on Randy Scott and his new CD Breathe, go to

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