I can’t remember the last time I did a music review, but it certainly has been a long time. Since going back to Canada for the holidays, I was able to pick up a number of new albums, so I’ll be reviewing them over the next week or so.
I was very excited to see that Christian Scott had come out with his second album, entitled Anthem, which followed up his Grammy-nominated debut album ‘Rewind That’ last year. I was not disappointed. Christian refines the trajectory he set in Rewind That, firmly establishing his identity, his ‘sound’, and his reputation as one of the profound leaders in the next generation of jazz.
Scott categorizes his music on MySpace as Nu-Jazz/Soul/Rock. It certainly has those components. Christian Scott himself plays very blues-infused contemporary jazz tones, while Matt Stevens keeps it rock-heavy on the guitar. Marcus Gilmore plays with a laid-back post-modern jazz tempo but with rock accents, and Aaron Parks is a chameleon on the keys but keeps a Soulful tone to lighten up the edginess of the other players.
Together this quartet (plus many other guests on certain tracks) play some really amazing music. I feel Christian Scott extends Miles Davis’ tradition with a very strong Modal feel, but meticulously fragmented, decomposed and reconstructed for the twenty-first century construct. The layering of identities and messages speaks to the modern-day experience. Taking direction from Davis’ ‘Cool’, Christian Scott’s compositions dig deep and dark, in an introspective sound that is sophisticatedly beautiful.
Christian Scott’s album title ‘Anthem’ and the album artwork that accompanies it leads hints to the listener that this second body of work is as much an ‘anthem’ for Christian Scott’s musical direction as it is a commentary and call to attention of what the artist sees as the state of America, and perhaps the world. The music is fitting for the album artwork that speaks of unmitigated urban crime and the struggle of innocence growing up in such an environment. As a son of New Orleans and a witness to hurricane Katrina, it is not difficult to see where Christian Scott’s perspective is coming from.
Anthem is an album I suspect I will continue to regularly enjoy for many years to come. The maturity Scott has already shown, and the amount of growth from the first to the second album are truly impressive. Its just downright an awesome piece of work, and as it was meant to be, speaks to you on a very personal level.
For more info on Christian Scott: www.christianscott.net OR www.myspace.com/christianscottmusic
Keeping an ear to the ground,