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Kendrick Scott: Corridors

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Kendrick Scott: Corridors
Some of the press releases coming out of Blue Note's Los Angeles HQ since the pandemic have been ripe for inclusion in British satirical magazine Private Eye's Desperate Marketing column. In this, the Eye prints particularly egregious, or just plain laughable, attempts by publicists to hook-up what they are selling with headline news events, or to make eye-wateringly hyperbolic claims, or to manufacture an intellectual or cultural context for an artefact where none such exists.

True, one of Blue Note's earliest press releases, sent out by Alfred Lion's wife Lorraine in January 1948, would have been a prime candidate for the Desperate Marketing hall of shame. It hailed Thelonious Monk as "The High Priest of Bebop." The claim, and the pen portrait of Monk in the accompanying text, did Monk no favours, encouraging the perception of him as a carnival freakshow and/or grifter and slowing down his critical acceptance as an American Genius by some years. But generally speaking, first generation Blue Note avoided such claims—much as it would have avoided signing country & western singer Rosanne Cash, as its incoming president Don Was, possibly the only record company boss who does not have to dress up to go trick-or-treating, did shortly after assuming office in 2012.*

But one digresses.

In the press release for Kendrick Scott's highly recommended Corridors, the drummer and composer is quoted at length speaking about the concept behind the nine-part suite which comprises the album... "Born during lockdown, the record focuses on posing outward questions instead of inward contemplation. 'I was thinking to myself, How has life changed for everyone?' says Scott, who began the writing process with a deceptively benign inquiry: What are people doing inside their homes? 'From that question, the theme of corridors came to me,' he says, noting that the metaphor was in part inspired by a long corridor in his New York City apartment. 'When you think of corridors, it really implies movement, going from one place to the next. But yet now everyone is stagnated inside them.'" There is more along the same lines.

And hurrah for Scott. Because his words are not, as that short extract might suggest, b.s. but a true description of the circumstances of the suite's birth and an accurate indicator of the album's vibe. This context is one of, not necessarily loneliness, but certainly of on-one's-ownness. Fronting a trio with bassist Reuben Rogers and tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III, Scott and his colleagues evoke the enforced isolation of those ghastly couple of years. The album starts with "What Day Is It?." This begins with a swagger, which fades as the virus takes hold of everyday life. A series of tracks, some around six minutes long, others less than a minute, then take the story forward—cautiously, tentatively, hopefully: "Corridors," "A Voice Through The Door" (check the YouTube below), "One Door Closes," "One Door Closes, Another Opens," "Your Destiny Awaits" and "Another Opens." Halfway through these, Bobby Hutcherson's "Isn't This My Sound Around Me?" is included, an inspired choice. The album concludes with "Threshold," as Scott, Rogers and Smith emerge from isolation into a once more fully functioning world.

Corridors is most artistically successful pandemic album yet to be released.

*A cheap and ill-mannered remark, but one delivered with affection. Any septuagenarian who has the chutzpah to go around looking like Was chooses to go around looking, deserves a tip of the hat.

Track Listing

What Day Is It?; Corridors; A Voice Through The Door; One Door Closes; Isn’t This My Sound Around Me?; One Door Closes, Another Opens; Your Destiny Awaits; Another Opens; Threshold.

Personnel

Walter Smith III
saxophone, tenor
Reuben Rogers
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Corridors | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


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