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Essential vocal versions of My Funny Valentine


There are hundreds and hundreds of versions of My Funny Valentine on Spotify. I looked through them and found what I thought were the most important vocal versions and put them in this playlist. You're welcome!

Rodgers and Hart would be proud!

Dancing to the swing music


The Vintage Vocal Quartet now plays dances! We put together a modified set list to satisfy lindy-hoppers for shows at the Dance Hall in Kittery and at the Watertown Arsenal Arts center. We had to tweak our set because a few of our ballads were too slow and a few of our uptempo songs were too fast, but we have been getting advice from dancers, as well as drummers and other sources like


Armory Sweet Armory


The Somerville Armory is our home away from home this month. A show on September 10 should be a blast, and then we are getting together with Dave Jamrog to record some performance videos in the big room in a few weeks. We haven't done a new video in a while (not since Adam joined the band) so this will be a great way to show what we are up to, and how we sound now. Hoping that down the road we will have enough video recordings to put them together on an EP to sell at shows.

Shirley you jest


Thanks to everyone who came to have dinner and see our show at the Bull Run in Shirley! This place is legendary but believe it or not this was the first time I had been there. Hope to be back for another show soon.

Vintage Vocal Quartet in Maine


Just got back from an awesome little tour...

video shoot


Dave Jamrog came over to my house with all his gear and we recorded a bunch of stuff in my living room...

Indian Hill


Thanks to those who came to our Bach's Lunch concert at Indian Hill Music! The Vintage Vocal Quartet had an unbelievably supportive audience. Since the show was during the day, we could watch as people mouthed along the words on songs like "Don't Fence Me In" and "Stardust". Hope to see you again at the Indian Hill fundraising gala May 13th.

Melrose Symphony


Can't wait to sing with the Melrose Symphony next week! New original arrangements, orchestrated by Kenji Kikuchi. With the Vintage Vocal Quartet too!

What key do you sing it in?


Q: What key do you sing in in?

A: The original, I guess . . .


This answer is almost always wrong. The reason is because until you have tried the song in a few keys you can't say for sure. And most people just don't go to the trouble.


Take the advice of my friend and colleague Donna McElroy here . . .

It's supposed to be hard


For everyone who is going back to school soon, especially my new Berklee students, please remember this line from “A League of Their Own” (written about baseball, but can be applied just as well to music):

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everybody would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

Back to school with Donna McElroy


Aspiring singers: read Donna McElroy's blog!

Here is her latest post.

New VVQ video


Thanks to the Four Freshmen for arranging this classic Bobby Troup tune.

Vocalogy tour under way


Hello Friends!

The Vocalogy tour is going swimmingly so far. We got stuck in the snow on the way to perform at the New Hampshire All-State Jazz Festival. We met thousands of teenagers at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival.

Today is the day of the big contest. All season long, the sides have been preparing, refining, testing. Yes, it's the 2016 Crepe-Off. Who will win, John's recipe or mine? More eggs, or more flour, or a balanced attack? How much sugar, if any? Which toppings add or detract? Chocolate? Berries? Butter and sugar? Does anyone have the courage to go plain? Time will tell.

With the breaking of the day tomorrow, we resume our march through New England. We only have two public events, so make sure you come to one of them.


Monday, February 8

7:00 - 8:30pm

Wellesley High School Katherine L. Babson Jr. Auditorium.

50 Rice St, Wellesley, MA 02481

The opening act for this concert will be the most excellent Wellesley High School Rice Street Singers under the direction of Kevin McDonald.


Tuesday, February 9


Ryles Jazz Club

212 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Get your $15 tickets on-line or at the door

At Ryles, Vocalogy will get a chance to stretch out. In addition to our harmony vocal tunes, we will feature some soloists. In Los Angeles, Christine Guter can often be heard performing with her trio, with big bands, and on many film scores (you have probably heard her voice if you've been to the movies lately). She will be offering up some music from her book of cool jazz interpretations. Yours truly (David) will be singing tunes you may have heard from the Hopeful Romantic and DYAD albums. And we will have one more guest sit in on a few songs, the fabulous singer, pianist, and songwriter Peter Eldridge. (Peter sings with a group called New York Voices.)


After that we finish off the tour at some events not open to the public, including school performances and the American Choral Directors Association conference in Boston (also appearing: the amazing Roomful Of Teeth!). Choral director friends, please come say hi.


Whew! Then that's it for a while. Much needed rest to follow :-)

VVQ Single available for purchase: Undecided


It's here! Click the link to purchase the first single by the Vintage Vocal Quartet, "Undecided"

Our version is based on the recording by the Delta Rhythm Boys, led by Lee Gaines. Gaines was a fantastic vocalist and lyricist. Perhaps his greatest claim to fame is writing the words to Billy Strayhorn's "Take the 'A' Train". He is probably the swinging-est bass vocalist I've ever heard.

Audio Advent Calendar from @DavidScottJazz


Every day this month I will be posting a link to a rare historic audio recording of a Christmas carol. Think of it as an audio advent calendar. These recordings are from the amazing collection hosted by University of California at Santa Barbara. They have digitized thousands of wax cylinder recordings from 1877 to 1929.

This will only be happening on my Twitter feed. Follow me at @DavidScottJazz for a musical treat every day before Christmas!

New video - Vintage Vocal Quartet "Undecided"


This video by the Vintage Vocal Quartet has been up less than a week and as of now has over 700 views. Please check it out, like, comment, subscribe, share, all that stuff.

Most importantly, ENJOY!

New track on Spotify


If I Was In Jail


I would love you to hear my new song, "If I Was In Jail". Available for purchase as a single, but also available as an EP, with acoustic and instrumental versions. This is something really different than anything I've done before. Call it "Dark Americana". I hope you enjoy it.


"If I Was In Jail" explores the loneliness at the heart of modern life. It was written in a hotel room on the road, far from friends and family, where the fantasy of apartness met the reality. "As a teenager I loved 'I Am A Rock' by Paul Simon because even though on the surface the song is about independence, the dark power of loneliness lurks directly underneath," Scott said. This flavor of independence about to be devoured by loneliness, suffuses "If I Was In Jail".


This music farms a homestead at the confluence of four American rivers: jazz, rock, blues, and country. 


Produced by David Thorne Scott with help from Anthony J. Resta and Karyadi Sutedja.


Featuring Catherine Bent, cello and Anthony J. Resta, guitars


I would love your feedback on this song. Say hi at Facebook or follow me on Twitter. If you like it, spread the word! That's how new music gets discovered these days: by YOU.

VVQ performance at SNAP


The SNAP benefit concert yesterday was a treat. What a great audience for the Vintage Vocal Quartet! And the SNAP chorus performance was inspirational. Check out their website -- this is a magical organization. We are proud to have been a part of their event.

Jazz stuff this week


A few jazz performances from the upcoming week, in Newton and Cambridge. Hope to see you!

P.S. Making good progress on the new band, the Vintage Vocal Quartet. We recorded the audio and video of a new tune last week, hope to have it up on YouTube soon! Check my website under the tab "VVQ" for personnel and more info.


My three masters


Here's something you should know about me: I serve three masters. That might sound like two too many, but it's how life has worked out for me.

New Berklee classes for the fall semester


ENVC-322-005 Vocal Jazz Choir
"Vintage Vocals"
Dig Postmodern Jukebox? Try a premodern jukebox on for size.
This four- to ten-voice group explores the breadth of vocal jazz ensemble music of the mid-20th century, when the big bands were the cat's meow. We start in the ‘30s with the Mills Brothers and Boswell Sisters; through the swing era with the Modernaires and Pied Pipers; through 50’s bebop with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.
By performing transcriptions and listening to classic recordings, students internalize classic jazz styles, harmonies, and arranging techniques.
Contact David Scott now at to audition.
Class meets Monday 5-6pm and Thursday 4-6pm
ENVC-242-001 Vocal Improv Ens 2: Jazz
Improve your improv! This is an intermediate ensemble for vocalists focusing on improvisation in the jazz idiom. Topics include articulation and groove, melodic and rhythmic phrasing, embellishments, using tone colors, hearing basic instrumental patterns, blues patterns, vamps, turnarounds, and II-V progressions.
Berklee has been building better singers through blues and bebop since before you were born. You got this. 
Prerequisites: ET-112, HR-112, and ENVC-111; or overall ensemble rating 3
Contact David Scott now at for more information.
Class meets Monday 11am-1pm.


The Dudes of the VVQ


These guys, doing some playing and singing at our Vintage Vocal Quartet rehearsal the other day.

IMG_1661.jpg_resized Daniel Henderson, of "Jazz For Cows" fame, playing hot trumpet and singing tenor.

Paul Pampinella, of "Five O'Clock Shadow" and "Vox One" (aka the best vocal group to ever exist), swinging on guitar and singing baritone. Fun times ahead!

Wedding March


Ever heard an all-female wedding march? ‪#‎acappella‬ ‪#‎mendelssohn‬‪#‎samesexmarriage‬

Coming soon to

It's called a pitchpipe


#pitchpipe #acappella

Gunther Schuller


RIP Gunther Schuller. He was still going strong, folks. I saw him at Symphony Hall recently when they played one of his newer works, "Dreamscape". It was trippy and funny and engaging. I will never forget hearing him describe his "education": wake up at 8am, head to the NY public library for reading and score study, maybe catch a film in the afternoon, then head to the Met, play french horn for an opera, then go to 52nd street to hear some jazz, jam and talk with the jazzers afterwards until 4am, repeat.

Why aren't there more lawsuits since "Blurred Lines"?


In my little corner of the music business, it is important to be thought of as a nice person. You never know who you're going to work with next, and being a good hang is often part of the gig.

I think this collegiality is the only thing stopping everyone in the music business from suing each other. Since the blurred lines verdict came down for Marvin Gaye, it seems that everybody can think of a laundry list of examples that should be litigated. And yet no one does it. At least not yet. Why not?

Ahmad Jamal and the Poinciana beat.Miles Davis doing Bye Bye Blackbird as a jazz tune. Who was the first person to do my funny Valentine has a funk tune, anyhow? We could name a hundred of these examples.

These are all arrangements that have been copied endlessly. And yet you don't see a line of lawsuits.

If Marvin Gaye's estate gets $7M for a cowbell pattern, what has stopped this thing from escalating out of control? My answer is that, in general, musicians see themselves as part of a musical community spanning the time and space. They don't want to pee in the pool, so to speak.

If only every line of work had this ethic.

fun pop music


Getting ready for the East Enders gig and transcribing Uptown Funk. Lovin' it.




Thanks to Diane Cline with El Sistema Somerville for bringing the Vintage Vocal Quartet to perform at East Somerville Community School today. The kids made a great audience and asked excellent questions at the Q&A. I hope we convinced a few of them that singing and playing an instrument are mutually beneficial, and super fun.

I knew it!


Here's an article that confirms something I have long taught: when your voice is tired, it's okay to phonate! Just be careful!

DYAD shows


New music and new gimmicks for DYAD are rearing their heads this spring, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.  We are adding songs by Samuel Barber and Hall & Oates. Mark Shilansky (recently featured on NPR and in the Boston Globe) is singing and holding down the piano seat while I sing and play assorted instruments (bass, mandolin, and trumpet). Following a concert for the 30th anniversary of the Concord Community Music School last week, we will be doing shows in Jamaica Plain (Boston) and Somerville.  Check 'em out.



Last night I performed at the Concord Community Music School.  This is a non-profit music center that serves 1,600 students and gives out loads of scholarships for lessons and ensembles.  It is their 30th anniversary celebration and many alumni of the program came back to perform including Audrey Budington and Mark Shilansky.  I was blown away by the community support and love this program gets, and by the tireless dedication of the founder and director, Peggy Senter.  Here's to another 30 years!

New band coming soon


After performing with the vocal ensemble The Four Freshmen on several tours in 2014, I was amazed by the passionate fan base for vintage vocal group music.  The Freshmen all play instruments and sing in four-part harmony, which makes them appealing to audiences and also economical as a touring entity.  I am launching a new quartet comprised of 4 singer/instrumentalists to showcase the work I have been doing over the last several years at Berklee; namely, transcription and performance of vocal ensemble music of the big band era.  Stay tuned!
In the meantime, enjoy these vintage vocal group videos

Little Pony transcription


Just finished work on a vocalese piece for my students.  Little Pony was written by Neil Hefti and recorded in 1951 by Count Basie's band. The tenor saxophone solo by Wardell Gray was lyricized by the great Jon Hendricks, who recorded it on "Sing a Song of Basie" with Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.

You can see and hear the transcription at a slow tempo here.

Singing while sick - tips


Sometimes students say they are "too sick to sing" because they have a cold, and they let their practice slide.  Even when you are struck by the common cold, try 2 things:

  • mental practice.  Imagine yourself singing the pieces, see how many mistakes you make.  Do it in real time.  This helps, believe it or not!
  • slow, low, gentle warmups like humming, oo, ee.  Use only the easiest part of your range and concentrate on getting clarity in your tone.

Taylor House Friday


DYAD is a fun project I have been doing with Mark Shilansky for a few years now.  We do all kinds of music, jazz pop, originals, all with a fresh, intimate, interesting take.  We love this music and it shows.  Live at the Taylor House, Jamaica Plain, MA this Friday.

So you want to come to Berklee?


I received an email from a student who is planning to attend Berklee.  The student asked me for advice on the school.  Here's my response.


Hi [prospective student],

I'm glad to hear you are pursuing your interests at [community college].  I went to a community college myself and it's a great bargain.

Students who do the best at Berklee tend to have a passion for music that makes them not realize they are "missing out" on other things (like a social life).  They tend to come in with a great deal of knowledge about one style but are open to exploring others.  They don't think of classes, homework, rehearsals, etc. as a chore but as an adventure.  They understand that sometimes you learn the most when you try, and fail.

Berklee is a big school (4000+ students), which is its strength and its weakness.  There are so many choices for teachers, courses and peer groups that no matter what your focus you will find others who have the same.  The weakness of Berklee's size is that no one will hold your hand through the program unless -- emphasis here -- unless you ask them to.  You have to understand when you need help and have the confidence to go get it.

Best of luck to you,


Where are the DIY music patrons?


This month's issue of JazzEd magazine (page 32) has an interview with Elvin Jones from 1971.  His voice on the page sparkles with life and intelligence, the same way his drumming did when I saw him at the Regattabar more than 10 years ago.

He speaks to the music scene in Detroit when he was coming up. I'll quote him here (emphases mine):

There was an elderly man then who was a jazz patron of the arts, you might say.  He was quite walthy and had retired from business. He used to run one of Ford's plants in Ohio, as the general manager or something like that.  He lived in Royal Oak, Michigan, so he used to come to the Bluebird a lot.  He decided that he wanted to sponsor concerts like Norman Granz.  He asked Thad and me to get some musicians together and from there we would see about hiring a hall, get publicity out, and put on a concert.  So we did it.

I love the do-it-yourself attitude here.  An individual who felt that music was important to the culture of his community spent his own money, talked to some musicians and made it happen.  Elvin doesn't say whether the concerts made or lost money, but surely that was not the point.

In the United States today, there are surely no shortages of individuals with the wherewithal to sponsor concerts and the passion to encourage the growth of music that builds intelligence, soul, and culture.  Are they out there?

Posting shows again

Hello Friends! I want to apologize for neglecting my performance postings on this site. I have been announcing my shows only on Facebook for a while, which was a mistake. Not everything needs to fly under that banner. I have a few exciting shows coming up this month, and I'd love to see you at one or more of them. June 8: Press Room, Portsmouth, NH June 15: Nave Gallery, Somerville, MA June 18: Andiamo, Newburyport, MA June 22: Amazing Things Performing Arts Center, Framingham, MA June 27: Demeters Steakhouse, Portsmouth, NH Check out the Calendar section of this site for more info. Jazz and creative music! It's worth your time. Love, David

Wyoming All-State

Had a wonderful time at the 1st Annual (right Ben?) Wyoming All-State Jazz Festival! The cats in the band were Ed, Ben, Scott and Matt -- great players, made it look easy. The high school students worked their tails off for two days and ended up swinging their way through 4 songs. Met lots of nice people -- is there such a thing as an unkind Wyoming-ian? Maybe, but I didn't meet one.

Maine All-State

I worked with 32 of the sweetest kids you'll ever meet at the Maine All-State Jazz Choir. They worked up 4 arrangements: Stardust, the Waters of March, I Thought About You and Sing For Your Supper. 3 days of pretty-much-constant rehearsal and exposure to my frantic search for vocal jazz perfection and they all kept their sanity. Made some new friends, made some good music.

Singing with Paula Cole!

Got to sing with 4 amazing singers: Paula Cole, Yumiko Matsuoka, Steven Santoro and Tom Baskett. Check out the video:

Open letter to the Canadian government

Dear Mr. Kenney, I read with dismay in the Calgary Herald that the Canadian Government is making it much more expensive for Canadian venues to hire musicians from outside the country. While I have long respected Canada's promotion of its sovereign music business and support of Canadian artists, this kind of protectionism is not in Canada's interest. Canada has a lot of talent to share with the world, but isolating Canadian musicians from international musicians in this way will deter the artistic and commercial growth of both groups. As a musician from the U.S., I and many of my colleagues will look elsewhere for performance opportunities. To this you might perhaps say, "Good riddance!", but I can tell you that Canadian audiences will be the poorer for missing the opportunity to hear us. I hope that the government changes course and creates a more welcoming environment for musicians from outside Canada. Sincerely, David Thorne Scott

Ali Amr at Newport

Congrats to my former students Ali Amr and Elisa Lomazzo for their performance at the Newport Jazz Festival. Long live qanun!

Berklee Vocal Summit

Wow! 211 students from all over the world came to the Berklee Vocal Summit over the past few days to learn from Berklee faculty and from each other. Thank you for making this event such a big success! As the director of the Vocal Summit, I am grateful to all the faculty and staff from Berklee that made things go click and BOOM.

El Sistema Benefit

Concert with the amazing Matt Glaser for the El Sistema Somerville music education program. These people are the real deal. Diane Cline has done incredible things for music in my town in just 9 short months.

Late night bike in the rain

On my way home from a private event I got caught in a minor downpour on my bike. I also discovered a great way to get to Somerville from downtown Boston. Go through the North End into Charlestown and then UNDER the Zakim Bridge to the Museum of Science. A beautiful blue-lit totally empty zippy ride.

Singing Bach

Great trip to Bethel, Maine with Syncopation! Two concerts with lots of improvisation and high-wire hijinks. I debuted my performance of the Bach Cello Suite #1 Prelude (check my Soundcloud page for a recording).

Taylor House - no mic, no problem

Still my favorite place to perform. Taylor House is a gorgeous little B&B in Jamaica Plain with a "chamber music" series. I was doing a "DYAD" show with the estimable Mark Shilansky, and we decided to try something different. In December I performed as a singer/pianist at a private holiday party where there was no PA, but they wanted me to sing and play piano. For years, I would never have considered singing jazz unamplified, but I gave it a try and to my surprise it went great! So Mark and I decided to play "unplugged" at Taylor House. I'm so glad we did. Talk about an intimate experience, for us and for the audience. We gotta try that one again sometime.


Performed with Mark Shilansky and his incredible band at the Berklee Performance Center. He calls it "Meta-Beat". He takes Beatles songs and does twisted things to them (like taking the freak-out groove from Tomorrow Never Knows and putting it under the sweet song This Boy). Really exciting stuff. Marty Ballou and Les Harris Jr. are my favorite pair of rhythm section players. They fit like hand in glove.

Peter Eldridge visit

Peter Eldridge came to visit my Berklee improv class today. What a sweet, encouraging, thoughtful, talented guy. My students were on air afterwards. Thank you Peter for your music and your example!

Musicianship for Singers

Steven Santoro and I gave a presentation at Berklee about our new class, Musicianship for Singers. This class is meant to be a lab where singers gain mastery of the knowledge and skills they learned in Ear Training and Music Application and Theory. Students practice melodic and rhythmic patterns using solfege, music notation, technology and musical instruments of choice to help connect the ear, the analytical facilities, and the voice. We got lots of good feedback and ideas from the other faculty members. I think this class is here to stay: the students who take it say it is a big help to them.

Scat lick in 12 keys

Here's Deborah Pierre and I demonstrating a scat lick in 12 keys. The lick is from Michele Weir's awesome book, "Jazz Vocal Improvisation".

Vocalogy tour California

Here's a video clip from Vocalogy's concert/workshop at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA.

One single rose

Some people wanna spend their life going from flower to flower I just wanna find one single rose and go way down deep

New instructional video

I've begun making little instructional videos for singers who want to improve their skills. They are posted on My newest one is How to Count Off A Song. Check it out!

Come talk to me

I believe that singers can be the highest form of musician, though they are often considered the lowest. A singer's great gift is that their instrument is their body. This allows them to express themselves with great flexibility and power. It also means that singers can deeply "hear" every note they sing (not necessarily true among instrumentalists). The problem is that many singers don't care enough to expand their musical vocabulary by training their ears, voices, and analytical skills. Some singers feel that if the audience applauds, they do not need to improve. For those who do want to improve, come talk to me. It is my life's work to improve my own musicianship and to improve the musicianship of other singers.

Interview link

Check out this interview with the producer of my album "Hopeful Romantic", Anthony Resta.

Vocal Summit

What an exhilarating week at the Berklee Vocal Summit! I got to meet amazing, interesting students from all over the world, with all sorts of different talents, and who all are absolutely passionate about singing. Singing really does bring people together. The atmosphere was friendly, everyone was eager to learn, and the pace was INTENSE. The faculty for this event are staggeringly talented and eager to share with young people. I really couldn't be more pleased. Thanks to everyone who participated, and I hope to see you again next year.

Press Room Beatles Jazz

Okay, so I did a show last night at the Press Room with a band led by Mark Shilansky. The conceit of the evening was Beatles songs, re-imagined. We did "This Boy" in the style of "Tomorrow Never Knows," to give one example. The experiment went so well we are thinking of making this a band, but we need a name for the project. Any ideas? Hit me up at The name shouldn't sound like a Beatles cover band, because there are already many bands who can imitate the Fab Four to perfection. This is more of a reinterpretation. The audience for something like this is the overlap of jazz fans and Beatles fans. Let me know if you have a suggestion.

CD release party April 12

Dear Friends, After months of exhilarating work, the new CD is finished! "Hopeful Romantic" is a jazz/pop mixture of original songs that is unique. Some early feedback has compared it to Jamie Cullum or Donald Fagan. There will be a CD release party April 12 at Ryles Jazz Club in Inman Square. Come celebrate with us and buy a copy of the CD. If you love the music, please support us by buying additional copies for your friends. Thursday, April 12 Ryles Jazz Club 8:30 p.m.-midnight $12 212 Hampshire Street Cambridge, MA This night will be an epic three sets. Set 1 will be music from "DYAD", my 2007 recording of duets with the utterly original pianist Mark Shilansky. Set 2 will be music from the new CD, "Hopeful Romantic." I'll be playing piano and keyboards, while Eric Byers (guitar), Phil McGowan (drums) and Greg Loughman (acoustic bass) will be rocking out and singing background vocals. Set 3 will be all of the above musicians plus a special guest or two in an all-star jazz session. If you're there until midnight, you can sing Happy Birthday to me in four-part harmony. The best birthday present you could give is just coming to the show. I'd love to see every one of you at Ryles on April 12. It will be a night that we won't soon forget.

"Hopeful Romantic" sneak preview

The official CD release isn't until April 12, but here's something to whet your appetite...

Free music!

I've been revamping my "Music" page on my website after reading a blog by David Sumner. It got me thinking. The way I had set up my music page was meant to entice you to buy my CDs or digital downloads. The idea at the time was to give the listener a taste of each song so their curiosity will be piqued. But I think the result comes across as standoffish or, worse, like I'm hiding something. I'm proud of every recording I have done and there isn't a note I'm ashamed to broadcast to the world. And the listeners that enjoy my kind of music understand that recording music is an expensive process, and that if they have the means and inclination to support recorded music by purchasing copies of CDs for themselves and their friends, they should do it. So, now: free music! Unlimited streaming available of every song in my catalog on the "Music" page. I hope that you enjoy it, and, if you're so inclined, to purchase some. It does a lot for a musician's morale to get a CD in the hands of someone who will appreciate it, not to mention the boost that one gets in negotiations with one's spouse about clearing room in the basement. P.S. CDBaby, though a great company, does take a $4 cut of every sale. If you want to truly support an artist, mail me a check and I'll send you what you want. Even better, come to a show and pick something up there!

Fascinating detail on Chet Baker

"If you put chord changes in front of [Chet Baker], it didn't mean anything to him. He would say in a self-deprecating way, 'Well I don't know the chord changes to the song.' . . . We would go and sit in with bands, often playing until five in the morning, and any of the songs they would play, Chet knew. But he would ask a question that would puzzle the other players. 'What's my starting note?' he'd ask. They thought he was putting them on or something, but all he wanted was the first note on the trumpet so he would know where to start the piece. From there he could navigate any song by ear. Sometimes the other players would try to fool him. They might try to trick him by playing 'All the Things You Are' in E or 'Body and Soul' in B rather than D flat. But Chet would have no problems with doing that. It was the other musicians who ended up struggling—they had tried to give Chet problems, but they just caught up themselves." --Larry Bunker, as told to Ted Gioia

Oh boy...

Okay, it's the moment you've all been waiting for. The new CD is finished! I have them in my hot little hands. Right now I'm sending out advance press copies to media outlets to generate a little buzz, but the official release date is April 12. The kickoff concert will be at Ryles Jazz Club in Inman Square with a fabulous band of Mark Shilansky, Phil McGowan, Eric Byers, and Greg Loughman. Most musicians will tell you that when they finish a CD, they wish they could start all over again knowing what they know now. I have to say that Karyadi and Anthony and I worked this material over enough that I am actually completely satisfied with how it is. It's just like I wanted it to be. So now there are no excuses: it's out there and you can like it or not, but at least I can say it is what I meant to do. (I hope you like it!)


Great music and music talk at TEDxSomerville at the Armory yesterday! Michael J. Epstein was the house band and acted as Paul Shaffer to C. Todd's David Letterman. Marcus Santos rocked the place to the rafters. Echo Nest founder Brian Whitman blew minds with his new music distribution paradigm. Jenee Halstead serenaded with a glorious voice. Keith Whitman played live freely improvised electronic music.

Faculty recital

This week I got to perform at the Berklee Performance Center with some amazing singers -- my colleagues in the Voice Department! I'm so proud I get to work with these inspired, crazy talented people every single day. Alison Wedding Nichelle Mungo Aubrey Johnson Jeff Ramsay Gabrielle Goodman Jeannie Gagné ... and an amazing band of faculty and students. Way to go, guys.

Music teachers last forever

Don Brewer, my junior high school band teacher, died recently at the age of 87. In eighth grade, I had never played jazz on the trumpet before, but he asked for volunteers to take a solo and I stepped forward. My knowledge of jazz at the time was limited to seeing Dizzy Gillespie on TV, so I figured all you had to do was get up there and wiggle your fingers. I was atrocious. But Don was nothing but encouraging. Now I am a professional musician and teach improvisation at the college level. I doubt I am as supportive as Mr. Brewer was, but I hope that I can come close.

10 ways to support musicians

Everybody loves to download, rip, stream and otherwise obtain recorded music for cheap or free. Nobody likes paying more than they have to for stuff. But how can you can support the artists who performed, recorded, and manufactured those recordings? How can you encourage them to keep on making music for you to enjoy? Here are 10 easy ways, depending on your budget: 1. Throw a $5, $10 or $20 into the tip jar. The performers get a morale boost knowing they are appreciated. 2. Offer them that old amplifier, trumpet, piano or drumkit that has been gathering dust in your basement. 3. Buy an extra ticket for their show and bring a friend who has never seen the artist before. 4. Buy an extra CD (or 5, or 10) and give them to friends. You can ask the performer if they'll give you a volume discount. 5. Hire live musicians to perform at your private party or company event. It will make the event special and memorable to everyone there. 6. Take lessons on an instrument or voice from the artist. Most musicians also teach, and most enjoy working with motivated beginners. 7. Commission a song for a special occasion. This makes a one-of-a-kind gift which will be loved more and last longer than that kitchen gadget you were going to buy. 8. Host a house concert. Offer the performers a guaranteed minimum, and invite your friends to come listen. You can sell tickets or give them away. 9. Offer to take photos or video of the performers for their website. 10. Be a producer on the artist's next album by contributing $500, $1000, or $5000 toward expenses.

Christmas Zaniness

Last night was a hilarious night of music at the auditorium at the Marlborough Public Library. Syncopation performed holiday classics and a cappella favorites. But the best part of the night was the extemporaneous version of "Silent Night" done in the style of Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On". We also did "Rudolph" as a New Orleans second-line groove, and I told the story of a car trip gone horribly, horribly wrong as part of "Route 66". Thanks to all that made the night a big success, and thanks to the Marlboroughians (sp?) who packed the house despite the chilly wet weather.


Working on a project with the good folks over at Bopnique Musique: Anthony Resta and Karyadi Sutedja. The idea is a 6-song EP that features my singing, songwriting and keyboard playing. We have enlisted a lot of fine instrumentalists to put the material in the best possible light. It's starting to sound good. The days and nights have been a lot of hard work and attention to detail. You want it to be perfect, but not too perfect, you know? It's kind of funny talking about things like "natural" when you have every music production tool invented by modern science, but music (whether "machine-assisted" or not) is natural. Humans choose what to put a frame around. Humans create art by deciding what art is. The style of this music might be a surprise to some who have gotten to know me as a singer of jazz standards, but it doesn't feel like a departure of any kind. I love singing: classical, jazz, rock, whatever. I identify myself through my voice, and I like to keep my identity fluid so I don't get bored in life. Keep 'em guessing! I want people to enjoy this music. It doesn't matter if it doesn't fit in a genre section of a record store, because guess what? There are no record stores anymore. All that is left is people enjoying music and hopefully choosing to support the artists they enjoy in a monetary way, so the artists can keep on creating. Keep listening, and check back for updates.

The Hopeful Romantic Project

Hello Friends, It's been a while since I have promoted any solo shows. Next week I'm doing some shows that are very special, a new project of my original music. I'm calling it David Thorne Scott and the Hopeful Romantics. I have always written songs and tried to squeeze them in next to the jazz standards, but I've never done an entire show of original tunes until now. Frankly, I love discovering and interpreting great jazz songs so much, that I always felt my original songs didn't quite fit in. Some of them are straight-ahead jazz, but others have a more R&B sensibility that may surprise you. If I had to describe this music to you in brief, I would say: Jamie Cullum meets Don Draper. Sexy, jazzy, and confident. I'll be singing from the piano, and with me will be a band of exciting newcomers. Bassist Will Cafaro, guitarist Mark Hadley, and drummer Jazz Robertson are outstanding young musicians who are making names for themselves at Berklee. Next week you can see me in Cambridge at the Lily Pad, and at the New Hampshire Jazz Center in Laconia, NH. I'm also doing a show at at Ten Center in Newburyport with more jazz standards mixed in, but still some of my originals.

Advice to a young singer

I recently was asked for advice to a young singer who plans to attend Berklee in a year or two. I was very glad to get the request, because it is something I think about often, and I wish I could clear up some misconceptions before they take root. Here is the message I sent her... Take regular voice lessons and practice voice an hour a day. Not just learning songs, but emphasize vocal technique with an ear toward clarity of tone. STUDY PIANO. Start with the basics of 12 major scales, 12 x 3 minor scales, triads (arpeggios and inversions, major minor diminished augmented), seventh chords (arpeggios and inversions, major 7 minor 7, dominant 7, half-diminished 7, diminished 7). Practice at least an hour a day. Use a metronome. Listen to music for 45 minutes a day. Start with stuff you love, then search out the predecessors of that, and keep on going back in time. They say "mastery" takes 10,000 hours. Start putting in your time! Successful Berklee students are the ones who come in with an established work ethic and are passionate about music. We are pretty "style-agnostic" in the Berklee voice department, so someone who is intensely into gospel, or Bollywood pop, or Bulgarian choral music, or opera, or stone country all can find their niche here. LOVE what you do!

The Tribe Gathers

The tribe did not gather often. In the best of times, it was not the most powerful in the land. Now, in lean times, the tribe was scattered in order to find sustenance. Each elder, warrior, or farmer had to find shelter where he or she could. One elder put out the call to honor another elder. Each disparate branch of the tribe was asked to bring their most powerful magic to lay at the feet of this man. The elder to be honored was not a great leader or warrior or farmer. He was not a treaty-maker or wizard. This man's gift was the gift of listening. He listened to the cares of the young warrior who felt that his struggles had never been known before. He listened to the cry of the farmer who remembered fatter days. He listened to the rough voice of the weary traveler who had come home after learning that "all is all." Would anyone come to honor this elder? Would the gift of listening prove worthy of commemoration? Would the scattered members honor the feeling of validation they received when this elder took the time to hear their concerns? Yes. The tribe came and celebrated with food and drink and fire and song. They brought their fiercest spells and tenderest songs and wildest dances and loveliest stories. The elder listened and blessed their gifts, allowing his tears to flow only when the spirit of his departed father appeared. After the feast, the tribe scattered again. No one knew whether they would again gather. No one knew what might cause them to forget their immediate wants for an evening in order to pay tribute to an elder who did nothing but listen. But they all departed knowing that their stories were less than dust without a listener. They knew that the most precious gift anyone ever gave them was to listen. They knew that, for a while anyway, they would honor The Listener wherever he or she appeared. ----- Eric Jackson, thank you for thirty years of listening. Fred Taylor gathered the tribe to honor you and no one could hope for such a feast as the one he gave. The tribe is in your debt, and our gifts tonight are only a token offer for the value you have tendered us.

Music education

The Boston Arts Academy is an amazing place where students learn not only the nuts and bolts of music (in addition to a full academic courseload), but also how to express themselves and their values in society. Yesterday I got to work with several students (along with the master pianist Frank Wilkins) who had the courage to sing in front of their peers. They showed the results of their hard work and their budding artistry, conveying emotion as well as musical ideas.

Live Music is Alive

Over the past few days, I have performed in front of over a thousand people at many different types of venues. A performing arts center, a music school, and a church are among the places I looked out and saw the faces of people for whom hearing music performed live was incredibly meaningful. If I ever had any doubt, I have been reminded that hearing live music is irreplaceable. It feeds the soul of listener and performer. To witness the fruit of so much hard work and soulful enterprise is uplifting. One listener with tears in her eyes said, "I got so much enjoyment out of your show tonight. I don't get enjoyment out of much these days." When we go to hear music, it tunes our molecules like little else can. Live music is alive and well.

Arizona tour

Last week I spent among the palm trees and citrus orchards of Arizona. One day I went into the backyard of the house we were staying at and grabbed handfuls of lemons, then squeezed them into a pitcher for lemonade. For someone used to the snow of a New England winter, this was paradise. Also paradise were the fabulous audiences for the music of Vocalogy. Vocalogy is a five-voice group plus piano, bass and drums. We spent the week performing for high schools around the Phoenix area, then went into the mountains -- to Flagstaff -- to perform at the Northern Arizona University Jazz/Madrigal festival. Talk about a high-energy event! When we went on stage the crowd of about 1,000 went completely nuts and were with us every step of the way. We varied the program from our more oblique music like Joe Henderson's "Black Narcissus" to real crowd-pleasers like "Time is a Healer", and the kids seemed to enjoy everything along the whole spectrum. If you're worried about the state of music in the future, you can relax a little bit. These kids were hip to real music, not just the pop flavors-of-the-month. Their energy and enthusiasm also showed in their questions to us, both in the info sessions and informally. They are hungry for music education, and, fortunately, they are getting it from their teachers. I only hope that the many schools we didn't visit also have outlets for that same hunger.

Talking Music Interview

Hey, check out Mark Shilanksy's new podcast, Talking Music. He interviews musicians about music. Always insightful and funny. His latest episode is an interview with yours truly -- probably containing much more information than you ever wanted to know. You can subscribe to his podcast on iTunes and get your iPod automatically updated every time he has a new episode. Great for the morning commute.

Syncopation - New Member!

A big change in the life of Syncopation. Aubrey Logan has left the band to pursue opportunities as a solo jazz/pop singer. Be on the lookout for her name in the national and international entertainment media in the upcoming year. I wish her the very best. A thorough search for a new soprano was conducted. Of course she would have to be an excellent harmony singer with great intonation, sound and rhythm. We also wanted an amazing soloist. Finally, she should be an entertainer with charisma and energy. We found all these things in vocalist Aubrey Johnson. She is a fantastic musician and lovely human being who will fit in our crazy harmony group just perfectly. Aubrey is a Boston-based singer/composer/arranger whose music combines her many stylistic influences which range from jazz, pop, and folk, to opera, Brazilian, and Turkish music, creating her unique brand of improvisation-rooted composition, with and without lyrics. Last year she completed the New England Conservatory Masters Degree program with honors and was awarded the Gunther Schuller Medal. She sang on Bobby McFerrin's latest CD "Vocabularies", performed in international jazz festivals with guitarist Lyle Mays, and is in high demand as a sidewoman by many forward-looking ensembles around Boston. She was named "Best Jazz Vocalist" in the 2008 DownBeat Student Music Awards. Syncopation is taking this opportunity to refresh our publicity materials, photos, website, and social media presence. Please stay tuned to see our new look! A sneak preview of our new photos can be found at

Vocalogy tour

After a few hundred miles logged on the Vocalogy-mobile, I'm home again. We sang for audiences from Monterrey to Seal Beach, and stayed loose while singing some of the most challenging arrangements out there. We really had a blast and I think that's important when you are doing music like we do: artistic, but fun and swinging.

Ridiculous Scullers show

Wow! I am all out of breath after the Syncopation show at Scullers. There was something special in the air last night and everyone in the room knew it. Each solo was more inventive than the last.... there was a fearlessness that we felt on stage because of the warm reception we got from the audience. Wow.

Club Passim

Last Sunday I sang at Club Passim with Syncopation. It was an a cappella show, and the whole concert seemed magical, warm and intimate. Was it the spirits of the great folk musicians who played at this venue over the years? Was it the hospitable and talented staff? Was it the good vibes of the audience that day? Who knows. Suffice it to say that we will definitely be back singing at this venerable Harvard Square institution again SOON.

Bill Elliott and the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra

Last night I got to sing with some amazing musicians and singers under the auspices of Bill Elliott and the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra. Thanks to all you dancers for making my night! Everyone had a big smile on their faces dancing to good solid swing music played by some of the best of the best.

Syncopation Promotional Campaign

After Syncopation shows, I love talking to our fans. They always have interesting comments, questions and suggestions. The number one question we get -- at least one person asks this every show -- is "Why aren't you guys famous?" The glib answer is, "Hey, we're working on it!". But, more seriously, a...part from the vagaries of showbiz, our number one barrier to success is TIME (and we don't mean the kind the drummer plays). You should be at a rehearsal when we try to schedule a meeting or performance. Finding a blank spot in the schedules of these four working musicians/teachers is like trying to find a missing purl in a quilt. Now, don't get the wrong idea: this is a good problem to have. It means we are busy doing the thing we love. But it also means that our ability to promote the band is limited. Our goal for 2010 is to work with individuals who have the expertise and enthusiasm to take Syncopation from a top regional act to a top international act. We are consulting with an entertainment attorney who believes that we have what it takes to attract booking agents and managers to our cause. But there are a few things we need to take care of. Did you see Christine get a makeover on TLC's "What Not To Wear?" You can see from that show what a creative, diligent stylist can accomplish. Syncopation needs a makeover, too, and we're visiting a top NYC stylist to establish an overall look for the group that will send a strong visual message that is fully in tune with our music. We have engaged an extraordinary Boston photographer to create images that capture the essence of Syncopation. Another comment we frequently hear is, "I love your recordings, but they can't capture the energy of your live show". A high-quality DVD video of our performance will be the group's ambassador to busy entertainment professionals. We will work with an award-winning video production company to make this happen. We will make an audio demo with cutting-edge production values by teaming up with an producer with platinum and gold records to his name. Finally, a newly-designed web site tying all these threads together will be Syncopation's front door, telling our story at a glance. In case you haven't guessed where this is going, here it is: we need money to accomplish these goals. It is because of you, the attenders of our concerts and buyers of our CDs, that we have been able to accomplish so much in the years since our inception. We need your help again to break through the ceiling that faces us. Click this link to donate NOW via PayPal: Here is the budget for our 2010 promotional campaign: Syncopation 2010 Promotional Campaign Budget Stylist and wardrobe $1,500.00 Photography $2,000.00 Video demo $15,000.00 Web site $2,000.00 Graphic design $1,000.00 Service mark registration $1,200.00 Investment agreement for Angel Investors $2,000.00 CD demo $10,000.00 TOTAL $34,700.00 Can you help us? If each of our fans gave us $20, it would get us a long ways toward our goal. If a few contributed more, we could make this dream a reality. We have already raised $5,000. We're not a non-profit. We're just artists trying to spread our music, music that you love as much as we do. This is the social networking version of passing the hat at a gig. It's the 21st century version of the great classical composers finding patrons to underwrite their music, much of which is still beloved today. We can't promise that orchestras will be playing our songs in 200 years, but we can promise that we will keep you apprised of every step along our way so you can share first-hand in the success we achieve thanks to your profound support. We are also looking for a few "angel investors" to provide gifts and loans in larger amounts for this project. Please contact us if you'd like to discuss our loan agreement and terms. Click this link to donate NOW via PayPal: If you would rather send a check, write it to "Syncopation" and put "SPC 2010" in the memo field. Mail to Syncopation at P.O. Box 230973, Boston MA 02123-0973 Thanks to those who have already given, and thanks for your consideration.

Handel With Care

Just got back from singing the tenor solos in Handel's Messiah with the Axtell Oratorio Society. Conductor J. Rodney Wendell brought out the yearning in the piece, most notably in the finale, "Amen". It was a very moving experience and one I was proud to be part of. The tenor solos are so much fun, because he sets the stage with optimism ("Comfort Ye"), then admonishes "Thy Rebuke"), then finally metes out justice ("Thou shalt break them"). Whew! Heavy stuff. What a role.

Blue Heron goes to Spain

Got to perform with Scott Metcalfe. He is such a joy to work with. He conducts with intelligence, technique, diligence, and -- most important -- love. A few lines from a recent review: "Scott Metcalfe and his virtuoso a cappella ensemble Blue Heron Renaissance Choir cast a comprehensive glance over what awakening 16th-century Spain had to say on the subject of passion. Mr. Metcalfe’s nicely judged juxtaposition of small forces and large, of a cappella textures and rich-hued accompanied tapestries, entertained and engaged the sizable audience in First Church, Cambridge." The rest of the review is available here:’s-16th-c-spain-with-song-of-songs-songs-of-love/

Holy February!

Syncopation was BUSY this month! Who knew the dead of winter could be so lively? A cappella shows at Belmont High School, Merrimack College, and First Church Cohasset. Shows with rhythm section at jazz clubs: the Hi-Hat in Providence and Ryles in Cambridge. And next month we're at the beautiful Performing Arts Center in Chelmsford.

Hartford Concert Series

I just got back from performing at First Baptist Church in Hartford. They are starting a music series and invited a jazz ensemble to kick it off. I was singing, Mark Shilansky played piano, Neil Shilansky played drums, Keala Kaumeheiwa played bass, and Kris Allen played alto sax. What a fun night. The church has enormously high ceilings. It's the very picture of a classic New England church. The audience was incredibly engaged and gave us plenty of energy and permission to walk the high wire. Acoustics good. Band slammin'. What's not to like? The topper: baked goods afterwards. Lots of cookies, brownies and cakes. I'm still high on sugar, two hours later.

Experimental Improvised Electronica

In 2009 I started making ambient music with just my voice, an effects pedal, a looper, and some random instruments/noisemakers. I have posted a couple of tracks on my MySpace page. Tell me what you think!

Grown-Up Music

Grown-up music is the kind where you can enjoy it sitting in the back row, chatting quietly with a drink and a friend, or sitting in the front row with your eyes closed, marinating in the sounds, reflecting on the poetry, and meditating on your life. The grown-up music I perform borrows a lot from jazz, but also has influences from western classical music, pop/rock, and country music.

Syncopation tour

Hey, what a couple of weeks it's been. Swampscott, Worcester's Mechanics Hall (what a beautiful room that is -- Mark Twain spoke there!), all our old friends at Ryles, radio appearance on WICN, the Center for the Arts at Natick... whew. Then after this Syncopation tour, I got to perform at Vernissage and Acton Jazz Cafe with the inimitable Mark Shilansky. Top that off with singing oratorio for the Boston Singers Resource select auditions, and I'm beat. Stick a fork in me for a little bit. I'll put my head up again soon, but for a bit I'll reconnect with my family and let myself get caught up in the holiday spirit. Hope you all do, too!


Thanks to everyone who came to Scullers on Tuesday for Syncopation. It was the first time we tried out our new toys: wireless mics. Oh yeah. I love music technology, especially when it makes it easy for everyone to walk around the stage (and even through the audience) without getting tangled or tripped. Of course, our sound man Bruce was the one who had to sweat all the technical aspects, but he did a fantastic job. As he says, if you don't notice the sound reinforcement, then he's done his job. We've been trying to move towards a better flow in our sets, and thanks to everyone's hard work I think we achieved it.

The Cats, part II

Gig at Ryles on Friday was a revelation. I played with several guys I've never worked with before. Greg Hopkins, who I have heard described as "world-class" and "the best trumpet player in New England", Dino Govoni, who plays positively Brecker-ish tenor saxophone. Then the phenomenal electric bassist Fernando Huergo and rhythmic wizard Bertram Lehmann on drums. And of course Shark Milansky on piano. I called the band "The Hard Bop Sextet", which was a bit of a misnomer. We performed some aggressive modern jazz, some original songs, burning latin tunes.... Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Tom Harrell... stuff you don't often hear singers do. Here is a video of Joe Henderson's "The Kicker".

The Cats

Hey everybody, it was a grand pleasure to sing at Ryles last week with Ray Santisi on piano, Barry Smith on bass, Casey Scheuerell on drums, Jeff Stout on trumpet, and Larry Baione on guitar. We had a great turnout, especially considering that it rained cats and dogs. I especially got a kick when Jeff Stout would quote back little pieces of my scat solos -- three tunes later! These guys have experience, attitude, and a point of view. The last, especially, is often a rarity among younger players. A couple of videos from that night. Enjoy! Blame It On My Youth Desafinado


Last night at the Lily Pad in Cambridge I did a show like I've never done before. I had no fellow-musicians to share the stage with, just a few assorted instruments, a couple of microphones, a sonic effects device, and a looper. And you know what? It worked. Check my MySpace page for a song clip.


Sang the tenor solos in the Bach Magnificat with the Masterworks Chorale tonight. Those people have a good time! It really reminded me that music is all about F U N .

Singing with the Boston Pops

My goodness! What a whirlwind. My vocal group Syncopation performed on the Esplanade as part of a grand 4th of July tradition here in Boston, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. You can see one of the songs we did on line at WBZ TV.  Here is the link: And a news article about the performance:

New Syncopation Video

Here is a new YouTube video of the band singing "But Not For Me." This is one of our newest a cappella charts and we have been having a great time. When you don't have a band backing you up, you really have to concentrate on SWING! From a show at David Friend Recital Hall at Berklee on March 30 (the date on the video is wrong).

Finals are history!

Finals at Berklee are finally over, and it's time to take a little vacation and work on some things I've been mulling about in my head. Going to be doing some experimentation with live electronic vocal processing, maybe try it out at an upcoming show. Hope to do some writing, and learning a few new Syncopation charts. And find the time to exercise, play basketball, and meditate.

Acton Jazz Café with Syncopation

Awesome show at Acton Jazz Café! The seating was sold-out before the show even started -- standing room only. The AJC patrons are a little different than at other places. They are so eager and attentive and just plain nice that it makes it a pleasure to sing for them. Thanks everybody who came out! I'll be there again on May 22 with Mark Shilansky and band, singing some new original songs.

West Valley College

Cool kids at West Valley College. Today went in and sang a few songs, played piano, and had a little Q&A session. Some really thoughtful questions and comments. That school is in such a beautiful natural setting I thought it was a resort at first. Thanks to Gus and everyone for making it happen!

Ockeghem? I don't even know him!

Having a fantastic time here in Stanford, California rehearsing with Cut Circle for the concert at Memorial Church on Wednesday. Hope you can make it! The music is from the 15th century, and it is POWERFUL. It makes 8 singers sound like an amplified guitar playing open 5ths with the amp turned up to 11.

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Next appearances

  • February 14, 2018
    Arsenal Center for the Arts ,  Watertown, MA
  • February 17, 2018
    Parish Center For the Arts ,  Westford, MA