Let's face it: Scat singing is an art best left to Ella Fitzgerald and very few others. But if a guy who spent 12 years in Alaska working as a bouncer and manning bulldozers wants to try, who are we to argue? Actually, Gates is one of the most extraordinary singers working in jazz today, the owner of a joyful baritone who has synthesized a host of influences - Eddie Jefferson, Jon Hendricks and Sinatra among them - and turned them into something uniquely his own. Here, on his third album, he playfully romps through the Great American Songbook, hop-scotching between styles and somehow turning old warhorses ("Summertime," "All of Me") into creative vehicles. Better still are bop staples like "Ornithology" and "Milestones," the latter a blazing version of the Miles Davis classic with forceful, urgent lyrics by Gates himself. One of the year's undiscovered gems.