Christian Scott is a young but already highly acclaimed and respected trumpeter who has just released his first live album entitled Live at Newport. This is an interesting and complicated body of work and showcases not only Scott’s considerable gifts as a musician but also his poetic, almost spiritual ability to transmit something to his audience through music. Live at Newport is a two disc set, containing a compact disc as well as a DVD -The Newport Experience; this includes a live performance by Scott as well as the rehearsals prior to the festival at Berklee School of Music. Two previous albums include the well received and Grammy nominated Rewind That from 2006 and Anthem in 2007.
If his music is interesting – ethereal, floating jazz which can morph into something else in a heartbeat, coupled with a trumpet sound which has been deliberately crafted to produce his own distinctly personal sound – then so too is Christian Scott himself, who comes across as a sincere, solidly grounded artist much older than his twenty four years and definitely with his own musical agenda.
As well as being lauded by colleagues and critics alike – fellow trumpeter Chris Botti called him “the new voice in jazz trumpet” – Scott’s good looks and talent have also propelled him into the world of film when he was invited to both play and appear in Leatherheads with George Clooney and in the recently released Rachel Getting Married starring Anne Hathaway.
Litany Against Fear is a powerful and majestic piece that begins slowly and swells into a full-on epic. Although the trumpet remains front and center in terms of commanding attention, Aaron Parks’ keyboard mastery is ever present and keeps drawing us back in. Parks is an inspired choice on this album and adds a layer of skill and sensitivity whenever he is featured. This is a difficult piece in some ways and often hovers between light and darkness.
Isadora is my favourite track on this album. Scott’s trumpet is celestial, like a vocalist with careful, impeccable timing. The whole piece is like being immersed in a warm tonal bath.
Musicians: Christian Scott- trumpet; Walter Smith III- tenor saxophone on tracks 2,4,5-8; Matt Stevens - guitar; Aaron Parks - piano; Joe Sanders - bass; Jamire Williams-drums.
With Live at Newport Scott takes many of the pure, key elements of traditional jazz – he cites Miles Davis as an influence – and shakes them up into a potent offering all his own. Scott has some strong ideas about where modern jazz should be headed and this album offers plenty of clues and excitement for his future plans. A must listen.