Christian Scott, whose full name is Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, is a trumpet player from New Orleans. He is also a composer, instrument designer and a music producer. Moreover, he is one of the most dynamic musicians of new generation jazz. He received two Edison Awards in 2010 and 2012, and was nominated for the Grammy Awards for his 2006 album Rewind That released through Concord. He has some eccentricities just like any world-famous jazz musician does. For example, he learnt how to play the trumpet from his alto saxophone player uncle Donald Harrison Jr., who also worked with Miles David, but didn’t like the sound coming from the instrument. Ultimately he made some modifications on his instrument to create his own sound. You can see Scott with his own instrument models at his concerts and on his album covers. Dizzy Gillespie’s trumpet might have become bent when somebody fell on it but Scott’s instrument is the result of his own ideas. He also developed a different blowing technique with this instrument. He is able to blend dissonance and consonance through this special blowing technique which he calls “forecasting cells”.
Scott didn’t only break jazz forms with the shape of his trumpet and his playing technique, but also expanded jazz melodically, harmonically and rhythmically in the history of music and put forth the “strech music” concept. His album triology that he released this year (The Emancipation Procrastination, Diaspora, Ruler Rebel) wonders freely around the world in order to inquire what has happened since five white men founded The Original Dixieland Jass Band and made their first jazz recording in 1917. He also focuses on the racial aspect of this 100 years old story. Who other than Christian Scott from New Orleans, with the blood of a Native American chieftain and African American immigrants running through his veins, would do this? He presented this album trio during his concert on Zorlu PSM Drama Stage on the 7th of November, Tuesday evening, for the 27th edition of Akbank Jazz Festival. Scott, on the other hand, had the first say as soon as he stepped on the stage with his hip-hop style accessories and mohawk!
So what was different about this concert? For example, the structure of Christian Scott Quintet… Some bands are formed to put the emphasis on the soloist, but one could feel that there were 5 clones of Christian on the stage with different instruments in their hands on the stage. In other words, Christian chose each musician in his team to suit his musical world. His longtime drummer Corey Fonville reshaped jazz amazingly through R&B, alternative rhythms and funk. He was almost like a rhythm production machine. Christian and Corey met each other during a Grammy Award evening many years ago. 16 years old Corey was very persistent to become a member of the band and he was finally granted his wish. The youngest member of the band is the 25 years old pianist Shea Pierre. Shea was Christian’s student before. The tiniest member of the band was Kris Funn on the double bass. He has been in the band for 9 years. Kris kept the music solidly grounded with his own relaxed style. Logan Richardson was on the alto saxophone; he is a musician who comes from the Charlie Parker traditions in Kansas City. Christian emphasized what a cutting-edge musician Richardson is when it comes to melody, harmony and rhythm as he introduced the musician proudly.
The band, normally used to crazy concert parties, invited the audience to lose themselves in music right away and hell broke loose soon after. I couldn’t take my ears and eyes off of this rebellious, modern, strong and able bodied team of musicians as I watched the concert from the balcony of the Drama Stage. My mind opened up like this recently as I was listening to Robert Glasper’s records. It was impossible not to notice Christian’s use of his famous “forecasting cells” method as he traded with Logan Richardson. He set his musician friends’ creativities ablaze with his ever blow. These dialogues sometimes competed with Arturo Sandoval’s speed on occasion, and sometimes separated into building blocks through tough R&B rhythms. Hearing Herbie Hancock’s Eye of the Hurricane during the concert was a sign of what this world of music had in store for us that evening.
The concert drew to an end with “The Last Chieftain”, in which Scott (who took over the title of chieftain of their tribe from his uncle a couple of months ago) tells of a society built not on hatred but on compassion. We barely made it to the backstage area, and there he was—the Last Chieftain—in the foyer with us! They unfortunately did not sign their CDs, because they ran out of stock during the concerts they gave in Far East. But that one and a half hours was an unforgettable gift in itself just like an album.