Rena Scott - Take Me Away (2010)

Rena Scott
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Rena Scott has lived out her dream for most of her career, playing a supporting role with some cream of the crop musicians.  Though her solo career is not as noted, the Detroit-born songstress was always in the spotlight in other capacities: whether opening for Motown stars like The Temptations, singing background for Aretha, replacing Randy Crawford in The Jazz Crusaders or working alongside Michael Henderson on several occasions, including his 1978 classic, In The Night-Time.  Scott also developed a songwriting relationship with Skip Scarborough, writing tracks for Earth, Wind & Fire and Anita Baker.
Rena Scott has lived out her dream for most of her career, playing a supporting role with some cream of the crop musicians.  Though her solo career is not as noted, the Detroit-born songstress was always in the spotlight in other capacities: whether opening for Motown stars like The Temptations, singing background for Aretha, replacing Randy Crawford in The Jazz Crusaders or working alongside Michael Henderson on several occasions, including his 1978 classic, In The Night-Time.  Scott also developed a songwriting relationship with Skip Scarborough, writing tracks for Earth, Wind & Fire and Anita Baker.

As a solo recording artist, Scott was not as prolific, releasing only three projects since 1979: Come on Inside under the guidance of Mtume and Reggie Lewis on Michael Henderson's Buddah Records, Love Zone from 1989 on independent Sedona Records, and the 2007 release, Let Me Love You.  To this day, Scott's heart belongs to those golden days of R&B before the advent of auto tune-enhanced voices and she refuses to compromise with today's hot trends of hip-hop generated melodies and depersonalized vocal hooks.  Under her own Amor Records moniker, Scott demonstrates her deep respect for her musical heroes and the classiness that embodies seventies and eighties urban music.  Her Amor debut, Let Me Love You, brought back a quiet storm feel, mixing contemporary jazz and classic R&B.  Teaming with her current musical partner from Let Me Love You, producer and primary instrumentalist Lloyd Tolbert, her latest project, Take Me Away is another sweet trip down memory lane with a mix of original compositions and some of Scott's time-tested favorites.   

Much of Take Me Away focuses on a mellower vibe, including the title track, "It's All Wrong" and "Something I Wanna' Say."  "Thank God for You" keeps it in the family with Rena and daughter Nina singing a sincere song about their lifelong relationship.  Scott adds smooth jazz layers to the Peabo Bryson hit, "Can You Stop the Rain," capped by Ron Scott's sensitive tenor sax fills and solo.  And her rendition of the Scarborough composition, "Don't Ask My Neighbors," successfully captures the essence of The Emotions' version. 

But do not let the laid back mood fool you on Take Me Away, as Scott has other vocal bullets at her disposal.  She unleashes her bluesy side with her take on "Dr. Feelgood," a song from Aretha's early Atlantic Records years and a spot-on homage to the Queen of Soul.   And Scott is just as comfortable with the clubs, as evidenced on "In This Life" (the remix was featured on Imperial...The Progressive Soul Collection, Vol. I).  The retro production by Armand Tumullmello (AKA Astral 22) delivers the congas, keys, guitar and strings, reminiscent of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." "I Don't Wanna' Wait" feeds off that Soul Train vibe but with a few modern twists.  

Just like Let Me Love You, Take Me Away continues Scott's quest to bring back the feel of R&B's golden days, when vocal performances were organic and genuine through and through.  And with her lifelong experiences alongside music legends, Scott brings both professionalism and unspeakable joy to her vocal performances, making Take Me Away an absolute keeper. 

By Peggy Oliver

 
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