|Christian Scott - Rewind That|
by Willard Manus
Christian Scott represents the future of jazz, a fresh young trumpeter (and composer) who is making large musical waves in the first part of the 21st century.
Only 22, Scott made a name for himself playing in his uncle Lou Donaldson's band, plus gigging with the likes of Ron Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Gary Burton and Nnenna Freelon. Born in New Orleans and coached by the sax-playing Donaldson, Scott was educated at the Berkelee School of Music, where he completed the five-year program in less than three years. The precocious trumpeter worked hard to develop his own sound--a warm, breathy one, close to the human voice. He also followed the lead of Miles Davis (a strong influence) in the way he eschewed flashy playing for a quieter, more terse style in which less is always more.
Scott's trumpet work and compositional skills can be sampled on a new Concord release, CHRISTIAN SCOTT--REWIND THAT. Scott wrote all but two of the eleven tunes on the DVD, each one of which reveals his seriousness of purpose and his virtuosic horn work. The ups-and-downs of relationships, friendships and family dynamics lie at the heart of Scott's writing. Rejection, for example, reflects the resentment he felt when a longtime girlfriend dumped him (via long-distance, yet). Suicide, a haunting three-horn meditation on the suffering his mother has endured from a crippling disease, is equally moving; ditto Lay in Vein, an homage to a childhood friend who OD'd on drugs.
REWIND THAT isn't all darkness and sadness, though. Scott and his band--Walt Smith III, tenor; Matt Stevens, guitar; Zaccai Curtis, Fender & Wurlitzer; Luques Curtis, acoustic bass; and Thomas Pridgen, drums--are capable of joy and exuberance as well. They work together in smooth, seamless fashion, handling tricky meters and complex patterns with an ease that takes your breath away.
Christian Scott could very well become the next Miles Davis.