First Release On Newly Launched Alexscar Records Is Tribute To Late Grammy Winning Producer/Songwriter Skip Scarborough


            The highly anticipated release of The Hit It Project marks the exciting emergence of acclaimed saxophonist David Marq as a solo artist in his own right. The emotionally compelling album celebrates the music of the late producer/songwriter Skip Scarborough with fresh interpretations of many of his greatest hits, as well as lesser known (though no less powerful) gems from his vast catalog of songs.

            Well known to contemporary jazz audiences throughout the U.S. and beyond for his many years performing with jazz luminaries like Brian Culbertson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Maysa Leak, Ledisi, Cabo Frio and The David Bach Consort, Marq first met acclaimed producer Jonathan Lesane, Jr. when he worked on sessions with Scarborough in the mid-90s. Invited to record The Hit It Project by Lesane, the versatile saxophonist immediately accepted the offer, which he calls both “a privilege and a challenge.” Marq put his unique interpretations on a virtual hit parade of Scarborough delights from the songwriter’s prolific body of work that includes over 200 certified Gold or Platinum singles.

            The Hit It Project is the first release on the newly formed Alexscar Records, founded by Scarborough’s widow, well known gospel singer Alton McClain Scarborough, and R&B producer Jonathan Lesane, Jr. More than simply an inspired tribute to a genre icon or a collection of beautifully rendered cover tunes, The Hit It Project is truly a fresh “all in the family” collaboration blessed by the Scarboroughs and featuring key contributions by many of those closest to Scarborough himself. The 14 tracks were produced by Lesane, Scarborough’s engineer and longtime friend, whose own all-star credits include Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Dru Hill, Montell Jordan, K-Ci & JoJo and Patti Labelle.

            The collection also includes some vocal tracks by Alton—who sings a stirring rendition of the inspirational classic “They Say”—and Scarborough’s son Marc on the bonus version of “Love Ballad.” Alton is The Hit It Project’s co-executive producer with Lesane. The project also features an exclusive guest vocal on the bonus track of “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers.

Two standout ballads that perfectly embody the cool vibe of contemporary jazz with a sensual urban feel are “Giving You The Best That I Got” (the hit song performed by Anita Baker that earned Scarborough a Grammy for Best R&B Song in 1988) and “No One Can Love You More,” originally popularized by the late Phyllis Hyman.  

            Marq lends an easy rhythmic, smoky soprano flavor to a passionate rendering of “Love Ballad” (original artists, LTD, George Benson); brings a high-spirited, horn textured dance party flair to “It’s Alright With Me” (Patti Labelle); and playfully swirls his soprano with a jangling guitar line on a whimsical take on the instrumental version of “Lovely Day” (Bill Withers). Other tracks listeners will instantly sing along with are the dreamy, horn accented “Can’t Hide Love” (Earth, Wind & Fire) and the romantic, candlelit “Don’t Ask My Neighbors.” (The Emotions).

            Beyond those songs that the world knows by heart, the saxman goes deep to unearth the magic of lesser known gems like the buoyant and brassy “Spirit of Love” (Con Funk Shun); the lush and ambient “Love Changes” (Mother’s Finest); and balmy, tropical-tinged strolls through “Loving You Loving Me” and “Anything For Your Love,” two songs recorded on Nancy Wilson’s 1997 Columbia album If I Had My Way.

            “I describe my music as passionate and soulful,” he says. “I want people to be moved emotionally when I play.  It’s a powerful thing to be able to affect the emotions of another with your voice, or with sound that you create.  I like music that moves and weaves, and music that tells a story.  I like to surf on the chord progressions.  Just like a surfer, the more proficient you get, the less likely you’ll wipe out. I think that’s what listeners will like when they hear The Hit It Project and my future recordings. Whether it’s the work of a legend like Skip or my own material, it will always be interesting.”  

            Jazz was in David Marq’s genes from the beginning. The saxophonist’s grandfather was Billy Taylor, Sr., who played bass with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Billie Holliday, The NBC and CBS Orchestras and many other jazz giants from the 1920’s through the ‘50s. The nephew of jazz bassist Billy Taylor, Jr., Marq took up classical clarinet at the Peabody Preparatory School of Music and honed his improvisational skills performing with the Carleton College and University of Virginia jazz ensemble as its lead tenor saxophonist.

Excited about contributing in his own way to helping carry on Scarborough’s great musical legacy, Marq says, “As I was exposed to Skip in the final years of his life, I came to discover a man that anyone could idolize. His musical greatness was dwarfed by his human kindness and spiritual character, and with his passing, I had a feeling of having been cheated of the opportunity to be in his presence for more time. Being chosen to do this as my first solo venture as a recording artist is an awesome feeling in and of itself, and this was my opportunity to be closer to the man I’d hoped to know better before God called him home. I enjoyed the experience of making The Hit It Project and was excited by it from the beginning.”

Proceeds from the album’s sales will go to The Skip Scarborough Foundation, whose goal is to stimulate music and arts education and provide opportunities to deserving children who would benefit from the foundation’s resources and expertise.


"No One Could Love You More"

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