[JPL] Young Man With a Horn and a Lot of Volume

r durfee rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 25 12:20:57 EDT 2007

October 24, 2007
Music Review | Christian Scott 
Young Man With a Horn and a Lot of Volume 
There was a funny contradiction in the young trumpeter
Christian Scott’s set at the Blue Note on Monday
night. From the start it was loud and rocked-up, with
dirty-sounding electric piano, distorted guitar and
hard backbeats, which gave it a posture of aggression.
At the same time the smooth horn tones, the
sentimental melodies and the drumbeats replicating
digital loops all gave it a posture of accommodation.

Suddenly there are a lot of jazz-rock bands around,
and Mr. Scott’s might be the Coldplay of them: A
comfortable romance comes along with the echo, volume
and drama. With this sound, during a very dry time in
the jazz record business, Mr. Scott was signed to
Concord Records, which has just released his second
album, “Anthem.” His first one, “Rewind That,” was
nominated for a Grammy Award last year. 

But even in a jazz club, with Marcus Gilmore whacking
his two snare drums at full strength, the music felt
thin. In his solos Mr. Scott has a great, youthful
flow, something that’s always prized in jazz. But in a
music of fewer chord changes and higher volume, his
nuances can get lost; the logic of his playing, and
the entwined sound of his lines with the band’s
saxophonist, Louis Fouché, seemed secondary to the
main point of the project, which was how contemporary
it all sounded. 

There are excellent musicians in this band, as many
know from hearing them in other situations. The
feeling of the music wasn’t entirely hard-sell; there
were some beneficial lumps in it. (“The Nine,”
especially, with its harmonized front line and its
contemplative changes.) But it could have used a lot

Of course, nobody should be asking these musicians to
play music that identifies more immediately as jazz.
They should do whatever they want to do, no matter how
they made their first reputation or what musical genre
their MySpace page asserts. But this slick middle
state between modern arena rock and smooth jazz isn’t
quite convincing.


Roy Durfee
P.O. Box 40219
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196-0219
rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com

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