Following two albums with a reconstituted L.A. Express, Bluestreak and Smokin' Section, Tom Scott returns to solo frontman duties on his Higher Octave Jazz debut, New Found Freedom, but he does so with a large number of guests. Those guests help broaden the styles of music available on the release, although Scott's own saxophone work remains a touchstone and everything on the disc will be easily programmable on smooth jazz radio. Indeed, the variety gives programmers many choices. Craig Chaquico, a fellow veteran of the 1970s rock scene and now a labelmate, joins Scott with some characteristic acoustic guitar work on the becalmed opener, "Feelin' It," after which adult contemporary singer Ann Nesby croons "You Are My Everything" while Billy Preston joins in on organ.
When trumpeter Tom Browne hit the Billboard charts in 1980, one would have thought that he was an overnight sensation. However, the licensed pilot had several years under his belt working with Weldon Irvine, Sonny Fortune, and others. His debut smash single, "Funkin' for Jamaica (N.Y.)," took the music industry by storm. Between Browne's piercing horn intro and his chilling riffs in the vamp, the New York native and his cohorts lay down one jammin' groove. From the thunderous bass of Marcus Miller and Browne's trumpeting trips to the salacious vocals of Toni Smith and the colorful conversation referencing Browne, this single was slick and exhilarating.