STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: The Evolution of Christian Scott


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This week, we take a closer look at the latest phase in the career of trumpeter Christian Scott, who will be in St. Louis to perform Wednesday, October 17 through Saturday, October 20 at Jazz at the Bistro

The 29-year-old New Orleans native a couple of months ago released the two-disc, 23-track album Christian aTunde Adjuah. The title refers to the new last name Scott has adopted in acknowledgement of and tribute to his African heritage, and the record - his sixth major label release as a leader - is not only his most expansive in terms of sheer length, but also is being called by critics his most personal and musically ambitious to date.

The nephew of saxophonist Donald Harrison, Scott was something of a teenage phenom, entering Berklee College of Music at age 17 and completing his degree in just three years while also touring with his uncle and performing, recording and self-releasing music with his own band.

Though Scott subsequently has done some work as a sideman with Harrison, and has guest-starred on recordings by Mike Clark, David Benoit, Marcus Miller, the hip-hop group X Clan and some others, he's mostly eschewed the traditional approach to jazz apprenticeship to concentrate on making his own music. His band in recent months often has included St. Louis native and fellow Berklee grad Lawrence Fields on piano, as well as long time bassist Kris Funn, drummer Jamire Williams, and guitarist Matthew Stevens, who seems to play a big role in setting up the texture and feel of many of Scott's recent compositions.

That's the lineup of musicians you can see and hear up above in today's first video clip, a version of the song “Spy Boy" from Scott's new album that was recorded last November in a concert on the Berklee campus in Boston. ("Spy boys" are the advance scouts/lookouts for tribes of New Orleans' black “Indians" when they parade through the streets on Mardi Gras day. Growing up in New Orleans, Scott - who appears in traditional Indian garb on the cover of the new album - and his twin brother Kiel served as “spy boy" and “flag boy" for the tribe headed by his uncle Donald Harrison.)

Down below, you can hear another piece from Scott's new album called “New New Orleans (King Adjuah Stomp)," which was recorded earlier this year at the North Sea Jazz Festival with the same band save for Fields, who's supplanted by John Escreet on piano.

Below that, it's a version of Scott's composition “KKPD," again featuring the same band except this time with Milton Fletcher on piano. This was recorded in 2010 at the Festival de Jazz de San Sebastián in Spain.

The fourth clip showcases Scott's ballad skills on “Isadora," also recorded in 2012 at the North Sea festival. The fifth video is from 2011, and shows Scott on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live playing “Angola, LA & The 13th Amendment" from his previous album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow.

To wrap things up, today's sixth clip is the electronic press kit for Christian aTunde Adjuah, which features Scott talking about the album as well some brief musical excerpts.

For more about Christian Scott and Christian aTunde Adjuah, check out this interview that ran in August in the Village Voice; this interview with Capital Bop from around the same time; and this interview done last month with a San Diego radio station. The recent piece on Scott from Wax Poetics, and his 2011 interview with The Revivalist also are worth a look.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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