The sign on David Thorne Scott’s door says, “Please disturb.” Or at least that’s what he sings on “The Sign On My Door,” the first song off his fourth album Hopeful Romantic. It’s a short jazz standard disguised as a pop song and sets the mood of the album as Scott tries to make a little romance happen.
Scott, who lives in Somerville, tackles the piano and keyboards on each song and is only a few shades off from Ben Folds. He bops along and doo-wops with ease. The music is decent, like any contemporary smooth jazz band, but nonetheless it works across these seven songs. The horn section is most impressive. Garret Savluk on trumpet and Henley Douglas Jr. on saxophone erupt at all the right moments and hit the spot. Douglas Jr. owns “More Than One Way.” Excellent guitar work creeps into each song from Anthony J. Resta and Jeffrey Buckridge, especially on “Who Doesn’t Want To Fall In Love.” Resta, who produced the album and played many instruments, has worked with Shawn Mullins, Duran Duran and Collective Soul.
“Too Late” starts off with a cool, smoky guitar that anchors the song as it rises to the bruising chorus. “I Should Take It From Here” and “Wisdom From Truth” both slap on the funk and get heads bobbing. The latter song cartwheels into a samba-jungle outro, but ends too abruptly. Each song is very compact and gets to the point quickly, but there are spots where the listener is teased for some hardcore improvisation. Hopefully this is something that stretches out live because the musicians are all worthy. Regardless, there are synthesizers that keep the midnight city atmosphere afloat during the whole album.
The sore spot of the album though is Scotts’s lyrics. He is very open throughout about his quest for romance. Each song deals with the chase, or the fall-out from the chase, and leaves nothing to the imagination. “I’ll provide room service / If you know what I mean,” from “The Sign On My Door” or “These feelings we can’t deny / We’ve got to give us a try,” from “I Should Take It From Here,” come off as poorly executed come-ons. You can almost see him bouncing his eyebrows up like Groucho Marx.
His previous albums slide into the jazz category, while Hopeful Romantic seems to be making more of a pop effort. One thing is certain: Scott is having a grand time and that may be all that matters. The final song, “Crossing The Line,” begins with a falling sigh, then wisps away in the moonlight as he admits defeat. Another night, another morning. Scott celebrates the album’s release Thursday April 12 at The Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge with three sets, including 2007’s DYAD and an all-star jazz session. Show starts at 8:30 p.m.