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Christian Scott at Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

Ernest Barteldes By

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Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
New York, NY
August 25, 2013
During a warm afternoon at Tompkins Square Park, trumpeter Christian Scott brought his sextet for a short set that featured many of the band leader's influences and sonic textures, starting with a very contemporary up-tempo groove that showcased his dexterity—he often distanced himself from the microphone for effect, allowing his instrument's sound to be picked up by the microphones intended for the drums or the alto sax, which resulted in a more stereophonic auditory experience. He followed that with a 6/8 tempo tune based around guitarist Matt Stevens's bass-like line.

Scott paused briefly to introduce himself and the band, and carried on with "West of the West," a tune that had a strong progressive rock vibe that evolved as it went along, giving it a kind of cinematic feel, as if the notes part of a film noir-like score—something that likely stems from Scott's academic background (his music degree, from Berklee College, concentrated in film scoring). He then slowed things down for "Isadora," a soft ballad written for his wife that had wide-open spaces for plenty of improvisation.

The set closed with "Ku Klux PD," an aggressive tune written after Scott was victim (according to his own account before performing the song) of racial profiling in his native New Orleans. He said the inspiration for writing the tune was as an alternative to "doing something destructive." The tune shifted tempos unexpectedly, and when his solo came he played them in a flurry of notes that sounded like a breath of relief at the end of an extremely uncomfortable situation. His sextet was in great sync, especially his chemistry with Stevens and drummer Jamire Williams, who have both been in the group for a considerable time. The other performers that evening were pianist Warren Wolf, legendary vocalist Sheila Jordan and a quartet led by Lee Konitz.

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