44 Trumpet Master Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – Looking Forward

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

Since he began recording at nineteen, now thirty-eight year old Christian Scott ATunde Adjuah has been developing one of the most distinguishable trumpet sounds in jazz or as he prefers “creative improvised music.” A nephew of alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, Jr., he is graduate of the storied New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and then Berklee College of Music giving him one of the most distinguished set of credentials in the music. Through incorporating elements of hip hop, rock, ambient, funk, and Afrorock he has been celebrated as one of the players that are creating the future of jazz. The forward-looking sounds of Christian Scott ATunde Adjuah in this hour of Jazz at 10 Today!

In 2011, when still in his twenties, Adjuah teamed with tenor saxophonist David Sanchez and vibraphonist Stefon Harris to record the disc Ninety Miles in Cuba with a pair of Cuban quartets led by pianists Harold López-Nussa and Rember Duharte . The tune Congo was written by Duharte and serves as a vehicle for Adjuah’s searing soloing.

Of Adjuah’s 2012 disc ATunde Adjuah, one of my favorite reviewers, Chris May wrote, “There is nothing wrong with the preservation of repertory or the acquisition of technical excellence, but without passion, and an engagement with the wider world, no music will prosper. So thank God for Christian Scott. The New Orleans-raised, Berklee-educated, Manhattan-based trumpeter’s fifth album as leader for Concord is an antidote to all that is wrong with jazz today. It is rooted in the tradition but it is also part of the modern world, musically and politically.” The rock rhythms of Jihad Joe serve as a platform for stirring interplay between Adjuah, pianist Lawrence Fields and guitarist Matthew Stephens.

Congo. Stefon Harris – David Sanchez – Christian Scott
(Christian Scott-tp, David Sanchez-ts, Stefon Harris-vib, Rember Duharte-p, Osmar Salazar-b, Eduarto Barroetabena-d, Jean Roberto San Miguel-bata/cga/per). From Ninety Miles. Concord. 2011.
Jihad Joe. Christian Scott Quintet
(Christian Scott-tp, Lawrence Fields-p, Matthew Stevens-g, Kristopher Keith Funn-b, Jamire Williams-d). From ATunde Adjuah. Concord. 2012.

In 2016, Adjuah recorded three discs that together make up The Centennial TrilogyRebel Ruler, Diaspora and The Emancipation Procrastination. The title track of the Diaspora was reviewed by Nate Chinen for NPR’s Songs We Love series. In part he writes, “Adjuah, who grew up steeped in New Orleans parade culture, has an unusually direct connection to the heraldic properties of his instrument. But he also understands how to make a horn whisper, murmur and coo. Listen to what he does here with a Harmon mute and some multi-tracked harmony…. The other distinguishing feature of Diaspora is the work of Elena Pinderhughes, a virtuoso young flutist and one of Adjuah’s closest collaborators… Pinderhughes has a warmly effortless sound, and her blend with Adjuah’s muted trumpet is practically seamless.”

By the release of 2019’s disc Ancestral Recall, Adjuah was considered one of the players who were forecasting possible directions for the music. Karl Ackerman wrote, “It’s rare to see Christian Scott ATunde Adjuah’s name without some derivation of “architect” affixed to it. It’s appropriate. The New Orleans trumpeter and composer—like his peers Kamasi Washington and Ambrose Akinmusire—is part of a wave of jazz musicians determined to keep the genre’s momentum moving forward. Adjuah’s Ancestral Recall seeks to dismiss notions of identity-based music, with a more inclusive form.”

Diaspora. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
(Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah-tp/siren/flh/sampling, Elena Pinderhughes-fl, Lawrence Fields-p, Cliff Hines-g, Kris Fuhn-b, Corey Fonville-d, Joe Dyson Jr, Pan-aftrican-d, Weedie Braimah-per, Chief Shaka Shaka-per). From Diaspora. Ropeadope. 2017.
The Emancipation Procrastination. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
(Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah-tp/siren/flh/sampling, Elena Pinderhughes-fl, Lawrence Fields-p, Cliff Hines-g, Kris Fuhn-b, Corey Fonville-d, Joe Dyson Jr, Pan-aftrican-d, Weedie Braimah-per, Chief Shaka Shaka-per). From The Emancipation Procrastination. Ropeadope. 2017.
Songs She Never Heard. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
(Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah-tp/keys/syn/per, Logan Richardson-as, Lawrence Fields-per, Kris Funn-b, Corey Fonville-d/per). From Ancestral Recall. Stretch. 2019.

Adjuah’s Blue Note engagement that was released as the disc Axiom was recorded March 11 – 15, 2020, making it one of the last live recordings before the pandemic enforced layoff. As Philip Woolever writes, “The set opens with I Own the Night, a rousing new number with stirring percussion that continues the African-based rhythmic focus explored on Ancestral Recall (Ropeadope Records, 2019), which was released about a year before these concert pieces took place. Each band member also appeared on that album, with the exception of special guest saxophonist Alex Han; thus the cohesive interplay is always optimal. Flautist Elena Pinderhughes earns supporting MVP honors through numerous inspired solos… Another new song, Huntress, consists of a gentler melody than most cuts over steadily mixed undertone beats. Pinderhughes’ flute floats in a higher register above cascading cymbals that build speed and intensity on increasing layers of percussion until winding back to the original pace for a similarly restrained run on what sounds like reverse flugelhorn. Whatever the instrument, Adjuah puts plenty of emotion into it. Written as a tribute to his mother, it’s a very touching piece…”

X. Adjuah [I Own the Night]. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
(Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah-tp/siren, Alex Han-as, Elena Pinderhughes-fl, Lawrence Fields-p/key, Kris Funn-b, Corey Fonville-d, Weedle Bralmah-per), From Axiom. Ropeadope. 2021
Huntress [for Cara]. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
(Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah-tp/siren, Alex Han-as, Elena Pinderhughes-fl, Lawrence Fields-p/key, Kris Funn-b, Corey Fonville-d, Weedle Bralmah-per), From Axiom. Ropeadope. 2021

Jazz has incorporated hybrid strains throughout its long history, from sources like Afro-Cuban music, Bossa Nova, and Ravel and Debussey’s Impressionism. Christian Scott ATunde Adjuah is by no means the only improvising artist to be hybridizing jazz with today’s hip hop, rock, ambient, funk, and Afrorock, but he is one of the best and most visible. Whether this is becomes a durable strain or another way station along the quest remains to be seen.

Resources

Kelman, John. (2011, July 11). AllAboutJazz. Stefon Harris / David Sanchez / Christian Scott: Ninety Miles. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/ninety-miles-stefon-harris-concord-picante-review-by-john-kelman.php

May, Chris. (2012, June 11). Christian Scott: Christian Scott: ATunde Adjuah. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/christian-scott-atunde-adjuah-by-chris-may.php

Richards, Chris. (2017, October 20). Washington Post. Why sweat the future of jazz when you can listen to Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah right now? https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/why-sweat-the-future-of-jazz-when-you-can-listen-to-christian-scott-atunde-adjuah-right-now/2017/10/20/48a7cec2-b5bc-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html

Chinen, Nate. (2017, April 27). NPR. Songs We Love: Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, ‘Diaspora’. https://www.npr.org/2017/04/27/525614117/songs-we-love-christian-scott-atunde-adjuah-diaspora

Jazzwise. (2017, November 29). Jazzwise. Top 20 Jazz Albums of 2017. https://www.jazzwise.com/features/article/top-20-jazz-albums-of-2017

Mullin, Kyle. (2017, July 19). Paste. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah: The Best Of What’s Next. https://www.pastemagazine.com/music/christian-scott/christian-scott-atunde-adjuah-the-best-of-whats-ne/

Tamarkin, Jeff. (2018, October 19). JazzTimes. R+R=NOW: Collagically Speaking (Blue Note). https://jazztimes.com/reviews/albums/rrnow-collagically-speaking/

Ackerman, Karl. (2019, June 20). AllAboutJazz. Christian Scott ATunde Adjuah: Ancestral Recall. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/ancestral-recall-christian-scott-atunde-adjuah-ropeadope-review-by-karl-ackermann.php

Woolever, Phillip. (2020, December 21). AllAboutJazz. Christian Scott ATunde Adjuah: Axiom. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/axiom-christian-scott-atunde-adjuah-ropeadope-stretch-music

For other programs in Jazz at 100 Today! visit: Jazz at 100 Today!

More Recent Posts