This kind of bold, confident statement has set Christian Scott apart from the day he signed the Concord contract. His emerging position as a leading figure in 21st-century jazz music looks more assured with every release, but he is the first to put things in perspective: "There's been all this hoop-la made about the palette we've been working on," he said in Moscow. "People have been calling me one of the main architects of a new sound of jazz. But I don't see it that way, because all the things I hear relate to stuff I heard before.
"I've had the experience of being around a lot of older musicians. I learned all these different styles and all the old guys said 'amen to what you're doing, if you have a vision.' So I've never bought into 'this is what it is, and if it's not that, then it's wrong,' because most of the older musicians don't feel like that, they just create. I'm not buying into trying to please people, worrying they won't like my music."
Zipping back to the London interview, Scott states that the title Yesterday You Said Tomorrow reflects a palpable sense of urgency throughout the new record. "When you listen to the document," he explains, "it's obvious you're listening to a group of young people who are intent on some type of change."
Scott and his quintet are on a mission to change the way people think about jazz. With an accessible persona, explosive yet thoughtful tirades against a rotten establishment, a democratic message of musical equality, and subtly crafted, thoroughly contemporary and fresh-sounding compositions, he has all the tools to do just that.
Mr. Marsalis, you'd better watch out.
Christian Scott, Yesterday You Said Tomorrow (Concord Jazz, 2010)
Christian Scott, Live at Newport (Concord Jazz, 2008)
Christian Scott, Anthem (Concord Records, 2007)
Christian Scott, Rewind That (Concord Records, 2006)
Donald Harrison, Real Life Stories (Nagel Hyer, 2002)
Donald Harrison, Kind of New (Candid, 2002)
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