You can always count on Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah to set big, bold, ambitious goals. The fiery trumpeter has just released a new song,AvengHer, which claims to do just that: start a discussion within the jazz world. And if the level of the man’s bold ambitions is not clear, the tune – it has to be said – is a preview of his upcoming release, titled ‘The Emancipation Procrastination‘; which is part of a trilogy of albums, all released within 2017; which follows his 2015 manifesto ‘Stretch music‘; which is how he calls his music now, turning his back on the term ‘jazz’. Yes, Christian Scott is unabashedly ambitious. And this is a good thing. Because, it doesn’t matter what he calls his music, it is beautiful.
AvengHer is another perfect example of electrically charged jazz fused together with hip-hop beats and west african influences and nods to post-rock and a lot more. It also makes testament of the trademark characteristic of his music, this understated intensity, like ripples on the surface of calm water, promising to deliver a storm.
Speaking of promises, the ‘Centennial Trilogy‘ aims to be “a sobering re-evaluation of the social and political realities of the world through sound”, according to the notes on the first release, ‘Ruler Rebel‘ (launched in March, and followed by ‘Diaspora‘ in June). “It speaks to a litany of issues that continue to plague our collective experiences. Slavery in America via the Prison Industrial Complex, Food Insecurity, Xenophobia, Immigration, Climate Change, Sexual Orientation, Gender Equality, Fascism and the return of the Demagogue”.
In a way, it is one of the first musical works of art to react to the Donald Drumpf era. Of course, Chrisian Scott is not new to this. His 2010 album ‘Yesterday you said tomorrow‘ (which still remains my favourite album of his) eerily anticipated the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement with tunes such as ‘KKPD‘. The same album features one of the most haunting ballads to come out in the last few decades, ‘The last broken heart (Prop 8)‘. It is a song about same-sex marriage, Proposition 8 being the amendment in the California constitution stating that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognised in California”. Its introduction in 2008 (four years after John Howard introduced a similar legal definition of marriage in Australia) deemed same sex marriage, legalised in 2004 as unconstitutional and stirred a long, heated public discourse – which was put to bed in 2010, when the court ruled that Prop 8 was, in fact, unconstitutional itself. But in the meantime, a lot of hearts had been broken.
Christian responded to all this with remarkable empathy and sensitivity, creating a beautiful work of art.
His latest album, ‘The Emancipation Procrastination’ is out on 20 October. You can pre-order it here.