VOICES Notes and news on Jazz releases
22 AUG 12 CHRIS SLAWECKI
Christian Scott's Christian aTunde Adjuah (Concord Jazz) drops a gut-busting two-hour banquet about New Orleans, music from and about New Orleans, and Scott's relationship to all of it, into a contemporary culture built around 30-second sound bites. It might even be too much music, or too big an idea, for this culture to digest, but the expansive scope of Scott's first two-disc set displays tremendous musical facility and vision.
Scott's trumpet playing is simply breathtaking in "New New Orleans (King Adjuah Stomp),"especially when his impossibly high notes scale Mount Dizzy Gillespie. His trumpet seems to ascend and survey the landscape "Of Fire (Les Files De La Nouvelle Orleans)" in a style that's genuinely like Miles'. "Who They Wish I Was" takes on folks who would compare Scott's band with Davis' legendary acoustic quintets. Scott's muted flurries hover and dissolve like a ghost -- as the producer, his sound is merely perfect.
Yet Christian seems deeply personal, too, with reflections upon Scott's matrimonial engagement ("I Do"), mother ("Cara") and brother ("Kiel"). While much of this set spits vitriol, these are quite tender and beautiful.
From its very cover art -- Scott adorned in traditional Black Indian, New Orleans clothing -- Christian aTunde Adjuah seems to prove that the further Scott goes out, the closer he comes back home. "It's about the willingness to forge new paths and to seek new terrain," he suggests, "while excavating one's own past as a means of gaining a better contextual understanding of that path."