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Debut album from Brian Scanlon

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    Posted: 01 Feb 2020 at 7:55pm

After a long and storied career, saxophonist BRIAN SCANLON is releasing his debut CD, BRAIN SCAN. Scanlon is a first-call studio musician. Over the past 32 years, he has worked on dozens of movies including Crazy Rich Asians, La La Land, and The Secret Life of Pets, and television shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad and Mad Men.
Scanlon is also busy working as a sideman on recording projects. He's performed on recordings for many of the top names in jazz and pop, among them Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Phil Woods, and Arturo Sandoval. He's also shared the stage with Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Severinsen and Seth McFarlane, to name just a few. But Scanlon is perhaps best known for his work with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, for which he holds the first tenor sax chair. Scanlon has been a member of the band for 17 years, and his playing was featured on the band's CD Life in the Bubble, which won a Grammy in 2015 for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. His solo on Goodwin's iconic, The Jazz Police, is well known by many fans.
Scanlon grew up in New Jersey and has been playing sax since the fourth grade. His grandfather was a professional saxophonist who had played with several well-known big bands, and when Scanlon's teacher asked him what instrument he wanted to learn, he naturally chose the sax. He fondly remembers sitting on his grandfather's lap, blowing into the horn while his grandfather fingered the keys.
While still in high school, Scanlon took private lessons, diving deep into the music of greats like John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
After he graduated, Scanlon landed a job playing with the touring company for the musical Pippin, where he met the singer and actor Ben Vereen. Scanlon wound up becoming part of Vereen's road band. During this time, friends encouraged him to come to Los Angeles. So, at the age of 26 and already well on his way to becoming a seasoned musician, he packed up his horn and moved to the West Coast. It didn't take him long to find work once he got there.
Just two weeks after arriving in town, friends who worked in the television industry helped Scanlon land a job playing for the TV show Murder She Wrote. Through his talent and with a little help from his friends, one job led to another, and he built a successful career as a studio musician.
Besides his studio work and performances with the Big Phat Band, Scanlon currently keeps busy as part of Bernie Dresel's BBB Big Band and playing various additional gigs around Southern California. He had also been a part-time instructor at Pepperdine University for 15 years, where he taught saxophone and directed the jazz ensemble. He stepped down from that position two years ago but still teaches privately.
With a family to raise and an incredibly busy and fulfilling work life, making his own recording was never a top priority. But Scanlon has been composing for 25 years, and he wanted to finally put out a CD of his music before he turned 60, so he released BRAIN SCAN moments before his milestone birthday.
BRAIN SCAN is an auspicious "debut" recording that comprises eight original tunes by Scanlon plus the 1938 jazz standard "Harlem Nocturne." Scanlon is accompanied by some of the top musicians on the jazz scene today, including TOM RANIER and ED CZACH on piano, TREY HENRY on bass, PETER ERSKINE on drums, ANDREW SYNOWIEC, LARRY KOONSE and AVERY SCANLON on guitar, and JOEY DE LEON on percussion.
Scanlon's writing is stylistically diverse. His taste is broad, but he's particularly drawn to Latin and funk grooves. He wanted to record "Harlem Nocturne" as an homage to his teacher, Jim Giacone, who started him on sax back in New Jersey. Scanlon heard his teacher play the tune in a concert and the song always stuck with him. Scanlon was in touch with his teacher until he passed away last year.
Scanlon wrote the opening number, "Brain Scan," sitting at the piano ten years ago. It features his son Avery on guitar. "El Entrometido" features Ranier on piano and De Leon on percussion. "Re-Entry" is an homage to Grover Washington and David Sanborn. "Not Watching" is a ballad with a straight-eighth feel that was inspired by his girlfriend, Nancy. Scanlon wrote a new melody line on "I Hear Something" to the changes to "I Hear a Rhapsody." The CD is dedicated to his brother Mark, who died of AIDS in 1992. He wrote "Mark's Time" for his brother. Scanlon was born with a club foot and had many corrective surgeries as a child. He decided to name the penultimate tune, "My Right Foot," after his childhood ordeal. "Scandalized," the closing number, has a sexy, Film Noir vibe.
Brian Scanlon is already well-known among jazz fans. A versatile musician who is a master on just about all saxes and woodwinds, he's adept at playing in any setting, from big bands to small combos. Now, with the release of BRAIN SCAN, his many fans can appreciate his inspired, complex, and endlessly creative compositional skills as well.
BRAIN SCAN was released on October 11, 2019 and is available at Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby and everywhere online.

Edited by js - 01 Feb 2020 at 7:56pm
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