I posted the second half of the Christian Scott interview over at VIBE
this afternoon after which I read Ben Ratliff's chilly review of Scott's Monday night stop at the Blue Note for the NYT
. I knew the paper was going to review it as I was a two seats away from the Times photog but I was surprised at Ratliff's take. Scott and crew put on a vital performance that colored his record's compositions all the more vibrant. It was rockish, backbeat heavy and fun, so much so that my friend turned to me at set's midpoint excited to hear jazz that employed our generation's vocabulary. Here's an excerpt from Ratliff's piece:
Suddenly there are a lot of jazz-rock bands around, and Mr. Scott’s might be the Coldplay of them: A comfortable romance comes along with the echo, volume and drama. With this sound, during a very dry time in the jazz record business, Mr. Scott was signed to Concord Records, which has just released his second album, “Anthem.” His first one, “Rewind That,” was nominated for a Grammy Award last year.
But even in a jazz club, with Marcus Gilmore whacking his two snare drums at full strength, the music felt thin. In his solos Mr. Scott has a great, youthful flow, something that’s always prized in jazz. But in a music of fewer chord changes and higher volume, his nuances can get lost; the logic of his playing, and the entwined sound of his lines with the band’s saxophonist, Louis Fouché, seemed secondary to the main point of the project, which was how contemporary it all sounded.
Now, I could benefit from hearing Scott live a few more times and would have stayed for the second set if my friend wasn't tired and ready to go. And I will admit that Scott's personality and stage presence go a long way in charming a crowd especially for someone like me who values the entirety of performance (I want to be entertained.) Still, I don't think Scott's band was entirely incoherent nor did I find the music tame. With regards to Louis Fouché, he's not Scott's main saxophonist, that role is usually filled by Walter Smith III
who Scott told me was missing on account of the birth of his first child so the lines concern could be valid. Honestly, I didn't play much attention to Fouché. The rhythmn section was where it was really at and Scott with his round sound darted over and about. He was certainly generous, ceding plenty of time to his cohorts. I might have liked to hear a bit more of him but "Coldplay!?" Wow. There's not really any sharp edges to Ratliff's review but it still cuts, which makes it all the more brutal. Anyway, be sure to check part 2
of my interview with Scott, he speaks to activism, acting, Katrina and a bunch else.