Last year Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah released three albums, a collection entitled The Centennial Trilogy to honor the first 100 years of recorded jazz music. The albums mix hip-hop drums with jazz sensibility and an extremely strong, emotive compositional element. To put it bluntly: it’s some of the most exciting music being made.
Amidst a three-night run at Greenwich Village’s famed Blue Note Jazz Club, Scott brought his quintet to deliver some of the songs off the record. The playing is dynamic and intense, transporting the listener to another realm, only to be brought back by intermissions where Scott talks, at length, about his band members and the concept togetherness. He creates this music with a deep purpose in mind; it’s not simply party music or pass-time tunes. This is vital to the unity of human beings, he feels, and in practice it seems to be working.
Various races and ages mixed in at the full tables of the Blue Note as Scott, now somewhat of a veteran in the modern jazz realm, dawned a cut-off t-shirt and some eccentric, very gold jewelry. In his unconventional jazz outfit, he lead the band in music that could be classified as unconventional jazz. The band started out with a new, unreleased number that continues in the experimental/electronic direction of recent releases. It was intense, skittish, and I can’t wait to hear it again. “West of the West”, from Stretch Music, was funky and very much influenced by current Los Angeles sounds, as was the very different “The Coronation of X. aTunde Adjuah”, more of a Flying Lotus-type, beat-head composition. Drummer Joe Dyson plays a key role in bringing these complex rhythms to life with a sizable kit and electronic drum pad as well.
The group also tackled one of John Coltrane’s tunes, but not one you’d expect. Taking a page out of the recently released Both Directions at Once, the band did “Untitled Original 11386”, which was definitely the most straight-ahead jazz played throughout the night.
Christian Scott plays frequently around the world, and you have to see his band if you haven’t yet. It’s some of the most emotionally rich jazz music being created today.