Christian Scott: Live Last Night
By Mike Joyce
Christian Scott, the young but seasoned New Orleans trumpeter who performed at the Kennedy Center's KC Jazz Club on Saturday night, invites comparisons with Miles Davis, especially when playing a muted horn in a minor blues or modal setting. But no one ever accused Davis of being a chatterbox onstage. During his quintet's opening set, Scott quizzed the audience on the Constitution, recalled why he left Prince's employment -- too much posturing, it seems -- and told several amusing anecdotes about his bandmates only to dismiss some later as untrue.
(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)
Fortunately, ample time remained for Scott to prove that his music skills trump even his gift for gab. The performance was largely devoted to original pieces that appear on Scott's recent and upcoming CDs, with one notable exception: a brash but structurally straightforward rendering of Herbie Hancock's "The Eye Of The Hurricane." Scott devoted that selection to "naysayers" who think his interests in indie rock and hip-hop somehow preclude him from playing mainstream jazz with authority and finesse. Suffice to say that both virtues were apparent during the performance, though Scott received a big assist from pianist Milton Fletcher and guitarist Mathew Stevens.
Still, it was the original pieces that set the show apart. The performance opened with the newly penned "Angola, Louisiana and 13th Amendment" and "Ku Klux Police Department" -- compositions riddled with harmonic tension and explosive rhythms. Sharp contrasts, however, play a big role in Scott's music, so softly harmonized trumpet and guitar lines -- and the hushed ballad "Katrina's Eyes" -- occasionally surfaced amid the dissonant jags and drummer Jamire Williams' fierce propulsion.
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