June 14, 2024

More Than You KnowMore Than You Know
Scott Wilkie
(Narada Jazz – 2000)
by John Barrett

It’s not the performance that grabs you; it’s the sound. Scott Wilkie has a splashy piano, with a mild touch of blues; his major skill is arranging, and he blends smooth sounds in an engaging mix. “Sign of the Times” begins with a Morse code synth, then yields to Matt von Doran’s guitar. “The Chicken” is a cute funky riff that puts Scott at three different keyboards. (The Fender Rhodes is especially sly.) “Pier 39” is a calm sunrise, notes coming in a gentle spray.Von Doran is simple but elegant; Scott turns on the charm. With nothing flashy to speak of, this grabs your attention – and caresses. This is not a song … it’s a moment.

It’s a different ballgame in the second half: the tunes are more forceful, and horns help immensely. It’s Eric Marienthal on “The Gnu Won”; his alto grooves slow, behind one of Scott’s stronger themes. “Fruit Sandwich” starts as a mambo and then slows down, while simmering hot. Lots of percussion; Scott does a montuno in places, and von Doran has his best moment. “Summer Vacation” is breezy and tough; Marienthal returns for “Whale Song”, drifting sweet as “Pier 39” did. The soprano whistles as the piano reflects: a fine end to a happy day. Without raising his voice, Scott Wilkie has made a statement.

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