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Christian Scott is lounging on a black leather couch, easy and relaxed before taking to the stage at a Moscow jazz club. The cold, gloomy Russian capital hosted the New Orleans trumpeter's quintet for a trio of gigs in February 2009including a show at the US ambassador's cushy residence, in front of an elite audience of officials and dignitaries.
Diplomatic functions do not represent a major part of the group's touring schedule. Maybe Scott was a slightly surprising choice for such an event: on the same evening, it was Russian saxophonist Igor Butman's tight big band which produced a sound more reminiscent of what might, on foreign shores, be expected from the stock phrase "American jazz."
Puzzled faces were certainly in evidence, but it is a tribute to the music's chameleonic quality that, by the end of a short set, appreciation was unanimous. "We've been lucky enough not to have a demographic," Scott explains. "We've played concerts where they'll have 70-year-old blue-haired ladies, or young teenagers. We've played for audiences of kids with Mohawks and black nails, right through to people who are just into hip-hop and gold teeth and all that type of stuff. It ties into the concept: the music is for everyone."
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.