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Ghost Canyon

Christian Scott Christian Scott

'Play ... Rewind ... Play Again ... Repeat'

One of the brightest jazz stars to emerge in the last few years is trumpeter Christian Scott. He makes his Concord Jazz debut on Mar. 28 with Rewind That, arguably the most remarkable premiere the genre has seen in the last decade.

Instead of retreading bebop the way so-called young lions did in the early 1990s, Scott delivers a smart, grooved, and plugged-in set of tunes (nine of the 11 tracks are originals) with his electric sextet. Steeped in the jazz tradition and intent on participating in the music’s evolution, Christain Scott is indeed a significant new voice poised to make an impact on the future of jazz.

Scott is a natural. Only 22, the trumpeter has both the tone and the conviction of the great players of his instrument. He eschews cliché and gimmickry in favor of an expressive sensibility and a willingness to break rules when it makes musical sense to him. A New Orleans native, Scott represents the next generation of Crescent City horn blowers whose lineage started with the legendary King Oliver and Louis Armstrong and has continued with such marquee trumpeters as Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard and Nicholas Payton.

Scott has developed his own distinctive and compelling trumpet voice: a breathy tone that has more in common with the way Ben Webster played the tenor saxophone than the piercing, clarion call the trumpet usually delivers. “It took me two years of concentration to come up with that tone,” says Scott. “I like it because it makes the trumpet sound like the human voice.”

Chatting recently with Christian, and mentioning that it seemed like all his press reports were making the same point that his new album was arguably the most 'remarkable premiere the genre of jazz has seen in the last decade,' I wondered just how easy it was to live up to his own press some days?! "I don't and can't let press define me or what I'm doing. I have to live outside of that and continue to do what I've always done. I've seen guys get too emotionally invested in their own press, since my compositions are derived from my experiences, I'd end up composing music about interviews and reviews and I don't think that subject matter would be very good to draw from in context to the type of emotional relevance that music would have to the listener." Your album title 'Rewind That' is an interesting choice, but does it originate from a more personal standpoint for you, perhaps? "I've had so many interesting experiences with people giving me their take on what it means so I don't really tell people what it means to me because I like what people come up with on their own."

If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Christian Scott at his musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "'Rejection' mainly because it's taken from a very specific experience and musically I think It depicts that experience very sincerely. And that's what I wanted."

Being that you are a New Orleans native, I'm wondering if you had family and friends caught up in Hurricane Katrina and if you went back at any time to see the devastation for yourself? "Yeah other than my twin brother and myself my entire family lives there and I haven't had a chance to go back yet but I'll be there for the jazz festival on April 30th - the 6th of May."

With a breathy tone more in common with the way Ben Webster played the tenor sax; more than the piercing, clarion call the trumpet usually delivers, at what stage growing up did you decide to take on this same tone ... and why? "I was searching to find a sound that reminded me of my mothers voice actually. I guess it sort of developed from how my mom sang and talked to my brother and I."

For fun, and taking the titles of a few of your album tracks, please let us know:

'Rewind That' - If you could rewind to any point in time for a day, what would it be and why? "I'd rewind to the day my mother had us and let her know that all of the sacrifices that she would have to make in the coming years to ensure that she raised valiant men, with ideals and a moral compass not based on societal constraints but the confines of our hearts, would not be for not. And, that her children would grow to be men that she could'nt have imagined being prouder of."

'Rejection' - How do you take rejection, in all its forms - good or bad?! "Very well I've always been good at coping."

'Paradise Found' - Where in the world would be paradise found for you, if allowed to stay there for one long summer's day? "Anywhere where people made a genuine effort to be tolerant of others be it Racially, Sexually, Politically, Religiously, and Economically. I think if there were a place were people celebrated each others differences instead of using them as a means to divide that's where I'd want to be."

What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "'Purple Rain' or 'Smooth Criminal'."

Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Not really, my favorite animal is the Human Being."

Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk

If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Christian's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: Christian Scott is a grad of which College of Music?

Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 15th with your answer and the subject title 'CHRISTIAN SCOTT SIGNED CDs' to:

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