Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Two-time Edison Award-winning trumpeter-composer-producer-bandleader Christian Scott stands tall among a handful of talented young jazz artists who are expanding their artistic vision beyond the strict confines of the genre's tradition. Throughout his eight-album career to date, the 31-year old Scott has been an intrepid explorer, constantly striding into uncharted jazz territory.
Including material from his GRAMMY nominated 2006 album Rewind That to his most recent release, bold double album Christian aTunde Adjuah, The Christian Scott Collection showcases an artist in motion - growing and innovating along the years. Tracks include Radiohead cover "The Eraser," from the Rudy Van Gelder-engineered album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow; "Litany Against Fear," a recorded performance from Scott's Live At Newport album; and the celebratory "Spy Boy/ Flag Boy," about the musician and his brother, and their roles in their New Orleans-based Black Indian tribe.
Scott, who has also lent his trumpet skills to albums by such luminaries as Prince, DJ Logic, Ledisi and X-Clan, has garnered excitement from critics and fans alike. NPR proclaimed, "Christian Scott ushers in a new era of Jazz," while Jazz Times called Scott "Jazz's young style god," and New York Magazine declared that "the trumpet phenom is creating jazz for a younger generation." The regularly touring musician has performed with his quintet all over the world and at such prestigious events as the New Orleans Jazz Fest, the Newport Jazz Festival, JazzFest Berlin and the Democratic National Committee Fundraiser in Harlem, where a 27-year old Scott entertained President Obama.
In his liner notes on 2010's Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, Scott writes about people calling his approach "stretch," and notes, "It's true that we are attempting to stretch - not replace - jazz's rhythmic, melodic and harmonic conventions to encompass as many musical forms/languages/cultures as we can. My core belief is that no form of expression is more valid than any other. This belief has compelled me to attempt to create a sound that is genre blind in its acculturation of other musical forms, languages, textures, conventions and processes."
Forward-thinking jazz trumpeter Christian Scott has built a career balancing both jazz tradition and commercial expectation with a sound that touches upon modal jazz, contemporary R&B, experimental hip-hop, and ruminative art-rock. The 2014 Scott anthology, Christian Scott Collection, compiles tracks off his various Concord albums including 2006's Rewind That, 2007's Anthem, 2010's Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, 2011's Ninety Miles, and 2012's Christian a Tunde Adjuah. While Scott's overall approach to making jazz is an eclectic cross-genre one, his sound has remained largely cohesive. Working with a regular crew of sidemen, including guitarist Matthew Stevens, keyboardist Lawrence Fields, bassist Kristopher Keith Funn, and drummer Jamire Williams, among others, Scott quickly developed a group concept for his wide-ranging compositions. While his warm, harmonically adventurous trumpet playing brings to mind the influence of such titans as Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard, his overall sound is anything but straight-ahead and traditional. Songs like arid "Eraser" and the languid, dramatic "American't," while certainly registering as instrumental, improvisational music, have as much in common with the ruminative, experimental post-rock of bands like Radiohead and Tortoise as they do with any instrumental jazz. Even when Scott delves deep into sultry, laid-back soul-jazz as he does on the half-lidded slow jam, "Like That," it ends up sounding less like a vintage '70s CTI recording (although that does come to mind) and more like a contemporary Christian Scott recording. Ultimately, with Christian Scott Collection, it's evident just how well Scott's highly cross-pollinated jazz holds together from album to album. ~ Matt Collar