One year ago today, Paste Studio was thrilled to welcome trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, who had recently released Rebel Ruler, the first chapter in his ambitious Centennial Trilogy, a series of records meant to commemorate the centennial of the first jazz recordings in 1917 while tackling themes of social and political peril. Elements of trap music, Western African beats, references to electric Miles Davis and earthy grooves from Scott’s own New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian heritage all found their way into the performance. It was one of the best we hosted in all of 2017.
Read: Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah: The Best of What’s Next
“There’s a sort of strange duality in jazz,” Scott said about the state of jazz and his place within it. “There are some people who have accepted this notion that the tradition in jazz is to sound like what happened in the past, to sort of mimic the way of playing of Sidney Bechet and Kid Ory and the past masters. So if you play the trumpet, you need to check out Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown and these greats to make sure that what you’re developing in terms of vernacular comes from very specific cultural spaces in this music. But once you’ve developed those things then you have a choice. You can either continue to create music that sort of falls in that vein or you can go out and search for new terrain. I happen to believe that the actual tradition in jazz is to constantly search new landscapes, new vernacular, new modes of operating and ways of approaching the music.”
Watch Christian Scott’s full Paste Studio performance, starting with “Diaspora”: