Who is he?
Fully conscious of jazz tradition but also deeply embedded in today’s music landscape, trumpeter Christian Scott draws on indie rock, hip-hop and beyond to stretch the boundaries of contemporary music.
What’s that he’s holding?
On his most recent album, Stretch Music, he plays not only the trumpet but also on instruments custom built for him—a reverse flugelhorn and a sirenette, combining elements of the cornet and the flugelhorn into one instrument.
Where do I start?
Stretch Music, showcasing his musical diversity and compositional skill spans the breadths of post-bop, funk and ethereal keyboard tunes. The whole album is worth listening to as a coherent if manifold work of art in its own right, but highlights include the opener ‘Sunrise in Beijing’, featuring flautist Elena Penderhughes, her other feature ‘Liberation over Gangsterism’, and the shimmering cymbals and exceptional percussion in tracks like ‘The Horizon’.
Stream it in full on https://christianscott.bandcamp.com/ or find it on iTunes, Spotify and YouTube. It’s also available as an interactive album in app form on iOS, providing sheet music and backing tracks.
To see his live energy and raw musicality, check out the NPR tiny desk concert, available in full on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVJjmyFfuts.
The tiny desk concert features two tracks from Stretch Music, ‘Twin’ and ‘West of the West’, and then concludes in a track titled ‘K.K.P.D’, which stands for Ku Klux Police Department. It tells a personal story of Scott’s of being stopped by the police in New Orleans purely because they felt like harassing him, a young black man. Opening with cacophonous distorted electric guitar and drums, it mellows into an introspective and heartfelt melody played by the horns (alto sax, flute and trumpet), with underlying tension being sustained by the harmonies on piano and guitar. This tension doesn’t dissipate until Christian Scott has played a first desperate and impassioned solo and the track drops right down into a piano and drum breakdown. It is then slowly built up again, ebbing and flowing before the main melody returns, swelling finally before the trumpet and the drums bring it to a sudden and powerful end.
Can’t get enough?
Christian Scott is playing at Scala on November 16th as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. He’ll be joined by his band and supported by Mammal Hands, who fuse jazz and Steve Reich-inspired minimalism with folk traditions from Africa, Ireland and Eastern Europe. Tickets available at http://scala.co.uk/events/christian-scott/.