"Boz Scaggs has Week's Most Added Album and Single... Boz Scaggs' Fade Into Light (Virgin) and its single "Lowdown" were the most added, picking up 15 stations each. Scaggs led the way with the biggest increase in Album and Single airplay, with each picking up 78 spins. This week's charts were affected by outages in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina." - From Jazzweek (Week of Sept. 8, 2005)
Boz Scaggs : Fade Into Light U.S Release
You've heard some of these songs before, but you haven't heard them like this. Intimate, understated, distinguished by the interplay of a handful of virtuoso musicians and the silken voice of one of the classic singers of our time, Fade Into Light is Boz Scaggs in a different setting, introducing new material and revisiting old classics with subtlety, elegance and flair. Previously released in Japan, Fade Into Light has long been a treasured album for Boz Scaggs aficionados who've paid high prices for the import version-and now, on the heels of Boz's celebrated But Beautiful - Standards Vol. 1 collection, the album is finally being released in the United States by Virgin Records, remastered in stereo and featuring additional recording and extra DVD features.
"I just let the musicians explore the songs, and I tried to get the best out of them," says Scaggs of the simple philosophy behind the recording sessions that produced Fade Into Light. "To a great extent, I've always worked like that in my recording: I hire good musicians and let them express themselves. What you hear on this album is those guys in that room at that time."
The repertoire includes "unplugged" versions of "Lowdown," "We're All Alone" and "Harbor Lights," three classics from the multi-platinum Silk Degrees album from 1976; a spare and haunting rendition of "Simone," from 1980's Middle Man; "Lost It," "Time," "Sierra" and "I'll Be the One," from 1988's acclaimed Other Roads; the new originals "Some Things Happen," "Fade Into Light" and "Just Go" (which also appeared on the 1999 collection My Time: A Boz Scaggs Anthology); and a cover of "Love TKO," the Teddy Pendergrass hit that Boz says he's wanted to record ever since he first heard it. Newly recorded for this release, "Love TKO" features Ray Parker, Jr. on electric guitar and backing vocals. In addition, "Lowdown" includes a new saxophone part added in 2005 by Tom Scott.
"It started with the song 'Fade Into Light,' which I wrote for the soundtrack to a Japanese film," says Scaggs. "The record company in Japan wanted to expand it into an EP and then a whole album, so I got all the musicians up to Skywalker Ranch for about a week. And the album just came out of playing in the room. We set up, and it just evolved. We played 'Lowdown" and we played 'We're All Alone' and then we kept going, and the songs we used were the songs that worked."
The CD side of Fade Into Light contains the audio album, while the DVD side of the disc offers the entire album in Enhanced Stereo. The DVD also includes live performances of "Lowdown," "Harbor Lights" and "We're All Alone," captured in 5.1 Surround Sound and High Definition Video. Recorded at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, the songs are drawn from the Coming Home Productions DVD Boz Scaggs Greatest Hits Live.
The result is a collection that spans, with rare style and grace, the last three decades of a career that has now lasted for more than forty years. Scaggs grew up in Texas immersed in rhythm and blues, soul music, early rock 'n' roll and raw Delta and Chicago blues-the music he heard coming over the radio airwaves across Texas and from as far away as Nashville. In high school, he played in a band with classmate Steve Miller, before striking out on his own. In 1965 he landed in London, and spent the next couple of years traveling around Europe in the "dharma bum" tradition, playing everywhere from clubs to sidewalks before making his first record and establishing a home base in Stockholm. In 1967, Scaggs headed to San Francisco (via a roundabout route that took him through India and Nepal), where he joined the Steve Miller Blues Band and took part in the Bay Area scene that was helping to revolutionize American rock 'n' roll. After two albums with Miller, he made his U.S. solo debut for Atlantic Records. The album, Boz Scaggs, was cut with the famed Mussel Shoals rhythm section, and featured the young guitarist Duane Allman on the blazing thirteen-minute blues workout "Loan Me a Dime."
In 1971 Scaggs moved to Columbia Records, where he made a string of records (Moments, Boz Scaggs & Band, My Time) that increasingly explored his love for rhythm and blues music. 1974's Slow Dancer was his most explicit bow to soul music, and it was followed two years later by the commercial and artistic breakthrough Silk Degrees. Scaggs made a few more albums (including the hit Middle Man in 1980) before taking a hiatus from the road and the pressures of stardom. In 1988, Other Roads showed that he hadn't lost anything; in the early 1990s, he signed with Virgin and made four albums, including the Grammy-nominated blues collection Come On Home and the critically acclaimed 2001 release Dig.
On his own Gray Cat label, Scaggs has released Greatest Hits Live, a two-disc live collection that spans his entire career. He also made But Beautiful, in which he tackled the Great American Songbook accompanied by a jazz quartet. "It opened up a whole new set of challenges for me," he says. "It's sacred ground, as far as I'm concerned, and the more I got into it, the more I realized how little I know." Critics thought that Scaggs rose to the challenge: Jazz Times lauded his "impeccably good taste and vocal otherworldliness that's at once starting and arresting," while Rolling Stone commented, "Boz Scaggs is hardly the first rock star to turn toward the classic American songbook, but few have ever done it with the soulful ease he does on But Beautiful." Boz himself was particularly happy about the album's reception in jazz circles, both in the United States and in Europe.
Another album of standards is in the works, but first Scaggs is having fun revisiting the classics from his own songbook on Fade Into Light. "I've always just tried to explore the music that means something to me," he says. "I had a period where I had hits and sold a lot of albums, but I wasn't really aiming for the pop charts with those albums. I was exploring the area I love, which has always been rhythm and blues music, and a lot of those songs got on the radio because at the time they were close to the mainstream. And now I know that I might be out of the mainstream, but I'm still exploring the music that I love."
Boz Scaggs - Fade Into Light
"Fade Into Light," an intimate and understated studio album from the singer BOZ SCAGGS, will be released by Virgin Records on September 27, 2005. Previously released by Virgin Japan, "Fade Into Light" has become a much-sought-after prize among Scaggs aficionados who've paid high prices for the import. It offers "unplugged" versions of some of Scaggs' best-known songs, along with several new compositions. Included in this U.S. Virgin DualDisc edition is a new recording by Scaggs of the 80's classic, "Love TKO."
The DVD side of the U.S. package contains the entire album in Enhanced Stereo, along with concert performances in 5.1 Surround Sound and High Definition Video of "Lowdown," "Harbor Lights" and "We're All Alone," taken from the "Boz Scaggs Greatest Hits Live" DVD, recorded in San Francisco.
When asked about his approach to this production, Scaggs says: "I've always worked like this in my recording. I hire good musicians and let them do what they do. What you hear on this album is those guys, in that room, on that day." Scaggs initiated the original session when he was hired to write and record the title track as a theme song for a Japanese film. Later, the label requested four more songs to make up an EP, and then more songs to make a full album. Scaggs and the band recorded new arrangements of his classic songs "Lowdown," "Harbor Lights" and "We're All Alone," from his landmark album "Silk Degrees," as well as "Simone" from 1980's "Middle Man," along with several newly written songs, at Skywalker Sound in Northern California. Among the players joining Boz are Nathan East, Greg Phillinganes, David Paich, Ray Parker, Jr., Lenny Castro, Dean Parks and Booker T. Jones. Tom Scott did the solo on "Lowdown."
Born in Texas, and raised with an abiding respect for a wide spectrum of American roots music, Boz Scaggs recorded early on with his high school buddy Steve Miller. He made his solo debut in 1969 on Atlantic Records with "Boz Scaggs." His 1976 album "Silk Degrees" has been RIAA-certified for sales of over 5 million copies, its classic hit singles and frequently covered album tracks sparking an extraordinary album chart run of well over two years. Other notable Scaggs albums include the platinum-certified "Middle Man," "Slow Dancer," and the three albums he made in the 1990s for Virgin: his label debut "Some Change," the Grammy-nominated blues collection "Come On Home," and the critically acclaimed "Dig." In 2003 he released "But Beautiful," a classic jazz quartet outing through the Great American Songbook on his own Gray Cat label.
"Fade Into Light" was produced by Boz Scaggs, with the exception of "Lowdown" (produced by Scaggs and David Paich, the original co-author of that song and the original arranger of the "Silk Degrees" album), "Love TKO" (produced by Paich), "Lost It," "Time," "Sierra" and "I'll Be the One" (produced by Scaggs and Ricky Fataar).
Boz Scaggs: Fade Into Light
By David Wild
Rolling Stone Magazine
Fade into Light started out years ago as a single for a Japanese film. This beefed-up album version of Light features intimate new versions on some of Scaggs' most familiar songs -- including an unplugged "Lowdown" (with a stunning sax solo from Tom Scott) and gorgeously spare takes on "We're All Alone" and "Harbor Lights," all three originally heard on 1976's Silk Degrees. More recent songs hold up as well: "Just Go" is a heartbreaking ballad, and the title track is a beautiful, stately romantic number with strings. There's also a sultry new take on the Teddy Pendergrass classic "Love T.K.O." -- another vivid reminder of what a sexy vocalist Scaggs can be. Bonus: On the flip side of this DualDisc, you get video versions of three Silk favorites from Scaggs' Greatest Hits Live DVD that find the man in peak form and very much at home at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.
Originally released several years ago in Japan, "Fade Into Light" was the first excursion into Boz Scaggs' current jazz-rock groove, a smooth, polished outing that rearranged several vintage Scaggs hits for a Japanese film soundtrack. Recorded at the spacious Skywalker Ranch studios with a handful of top-flight session players -- Booker T. Jones, Tom Scott, Ray Parker Jr. -- the album is finally seeing release in this country with a few tracks from last year's "Greatest Hits Recorded Live" video stuck on the flipside of this CD/DVD DualDisc. It's a beautiful set that benefits greatly from Scaggs' exquisite musicianship, even if it is a few years behind the time.
- Joel Selvin / SF Chronicle
FADE INTO LIGHT. Boz Scaggs. Virgin
By Richard Paton
During the late '70s and into the '80s, Scaggs was making soulful and classy pop albums, including "Silk Degrees." Now, he returns to his songs from that era creating new, low-key versions of such tracks as "Lowdown," "We're All Alone," "Harbor Lights," and cuts from the albums "Middle Man" and "Other Roads."
He adds a version of "Love TKO," plus three newer originals that fit right into the style of the disc. One is the title track, a standout ballad wrapped in strings with a wonderful melody and Scaggs' voice sounding lived-in but still suave.
The others are "Some Things Happen," which is sophisticated, R&B-style, with a tight rhythm and smooth production with strings and a popping bass, and "Just Go" (also released on a 1999 collection) which is slower and sadder, Scaggs' voice taking on a tone just right for the bittersweet lyrics.
The re-makes of his older material work well, too. "Lowdown" takes on a jazz mood with a lush sax solo; "Harbor Lights" becomes a mellow piano jazz/standard piece; "Sierra" lies somewhere between country and Dire Straits, and "We're All Alone" is slow, the focus on the melody which is reinvigorated in this new musical context.
"Fade Into Light," scheduled for release Sept. 27, would be a classy disc even if we hadn't heard the songs before. But listening to favorite tracks from Scaggs' catalog reworked like this makes it something special.
Hear: The maturing of an American roots master
BOZ SCAGGS "FADE INTO LIGHT" (VIRGIN)
By Jim Farber
Boz Scaggs has always cut handsome records. They're well-tailored renderings of R&B, pop and soul. Such an intelligent approach to American roots music has helped Scaggs' sound age well - enough so that even songs he cut 20 years ago still suit him.
For "Fade Into Light," Scaggs mingles new versions of classics ("Lowdown," "We're All Alone") with fresh numbers. The best-known songs receive transforming arrangements.
Countering the rousing disco beat of the original "Lowdown," the new version strips the instrumentation down, and slows the beat to emphasize the lyric. It's Boz at his sexiest. He's just as hot in a cover of the R&B classic "Love T.K.O." A new song like the title track conveys equal emotion. It's a stringed ballad that threatens to give adult-pop a good name.
More than 30 years into his career, Scaggs retains the full creaminess of his voice, as well as the ability to find in slick, considered music real emotional grit.