Every now and again there comes an artist who captures your interest from the very first prodigious note that is made. As if by osmosis, their music is absorbed into the very essence of your extra sensory perceptive personified mind. That is exactly what trumpeter Christian Scott has done on his debut release for Concord Records entitled Rewind That.
For some jazz connoisseurs who have watched the evolution of jazz over the last 30-plus years, Rewind That is the culmination of every thing that has been retrofitted from the 1970s, when fusion jazz was just beginning to make a statement of its own. During that era, many up and coming musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Bennie Maupin, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Randy Brecker, Eddie Henderson and even the legendary Miles Davis to a large extent were pushing the elements of fusion jazz into the mainstream. What once began as a foray into the unknown reaches of blending rock, R&B and popular music into a commonality of style has now become standard practice. Christian Scott’s latest release rides that same wave and continues down a path that was blazed superbly by his predecessors.
At 22, Scott is somewhat of a prodigy. He received his first trumpet from his mother and grandmother at age 12. Upon receiving his instrument, he began learning the rudiments of jazz from his uncle, saxophonist Donald Harrison. Under that superb level of instruction, Scott enrolled in the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, where additional mentoring was received from Clyde Kerr and Kent Jordan. When examining the history of the NOCCA, the list of alumni reads like a "Who’s Who in Jazz" to include Harry Connick, Jr., Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton and the Marsalis brothers. Upon completing that course of study, Christian received a full tuition free scholarship to the prestigious Berklee School of Music, where he completed five years of jazz studies in just 30 months. Upon graduation, he then released a self-titled, self-produced album. In a short span of time, Christian Scott has accomplished more than some musicians have been able to do after many years of toil.
Rewind That is a product of everything imaginable in jazz. As a derivative of fusion, Scott has embraced hip-hop rhythms, soulful melodic grooves and harmonic nuances to bind with an improvisational standard seldom seen coming from an artist of his years. His music has a built-in simplicity about it, whereby even the most complex note structures are easily assimilated into the realm of intuitive acceptance. As one attunes himself to the creativity of Christian Scott, the influences of Miles Davis and Eddie Henderson radiate like beacons in the night. On the other hand, the ever-present shadow of Chet Baker also looms in the background. But make no mistake about this music, Rewind That is all about Christian Scott’s own personal odyssey into fusion and the intuitive creative spirit that comes from within. His laid back style of play creates a sense of sanctuary in an environment where jazz is often too commercial and seldom very cerebral.
In my mind, Christian Scott’s dynamic release containing eleven outstanding tracks of fused improvisational magic is an excellent example of what jazz should be about. This album is definitely an unqualified sphere of strategic importance.