Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Album Review: Christian Scott- Stretch Music

Christian Scott
Stretch Music
**** out of *****
The New Orleans based jazz multi-instrumentalist Christian Scott has been nominated for Grammy Awards in the past and his newest release (his first for RopeadopeStretch Music, continues his high level of excellence, it is a shame he wasn't nominated this year.

The core of players who join Scott are formidable. Elena Pinderhughes - Flute, Braxton Cook - Alto, Straight Alto, Corey King - Trombone, Cliff Hines - Guitar, Lawrence Fields – Piano, Fender Rhodes, Kris Funn – Bass, Corey Fonville ‒ Drums, SPD-SX pad, Joe Dyson Jr. - Pan African Drums, SPD-SX pad. They are all talented players driving Scott, who focuses Trumpet, Sirenette and Reverse Flugelhorn.

The opening "Sunrise in  Beijing" is a melange of styles with fidgety drums and distorted keyboard work from Fields clashing and interlocking with gorgeous horn and flute phrases, expertly capturing what Scott refers to as 'stretch-music'. The escapist "Liberation over Gangsterism" floats in the same waters pairing Pinderhughes flute beautifully with Scott's own sound all around a groove filled, repetitive foundation.

"West of the West" is the winning centerpiece of the album, the core is augmented by Matthew Stevens on guitar and the whole collective shines. Stevens riff forms the basis and the band works off of it into bass solos, expressive brass workouts and drum excursions.

"Runnin 7's" gives the brass a break as the drummers get a well deserved turn in the spotlight while "Tantric" spaces things out but never really delivers either the chillness or space vibe it is going for and gets stuck between.

"Of a New Cool" however blends multiple eras of jazz effortlessly with soul, dramatically swelling and recalling hidden emotions. An extended track that lets all the players come into focus and gel swimmingly even adding a new sound as Warren's Wolfs vibes cut an elegant swath.

Wolf also helps out more understated on "Perspectives" which floats along never feeling too tied down to this earth while "TWIN" is the opposite. Grounded, the group seems more spirited as it puts on its dancing shoes letting the low end lead the party out onto the floor while Scott adds full and confident lines of brass to the party, a real winner of a track.

The final big musical statement comes on "The Last Chieftain" a scattered affair where Stevens joins back adding more to the free jazz texture. While not as cohesive as the other longer pieces it is still very expressive. Brief hip-hop tinged "The Horizon" is called upon to close out this fantastic 'stretch-music' release from Scott and company, gazing forward with the talent to back it up.  
Yesterday we guessed at artists who should be playing Jazzfest, but we left one off and that was Christian Scott who we are focusing on today. An incredibly exciting bandcamp find, for Jazzy Jan. This one pushes the others to the side with its quality, production and vision. Go buy a copy, peep some video and stream below:

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