Telluride Jazz Celebration: Christian Scott, trumpet

Telluride Jazz Celebration: Christian Scott, trumpet

[click "Play" button to hear Susan's interview with Christian Scott]

996418782_l At the 33rd annual Telluride Jazz Celebration, audiences get to come face to face with the future of the genre: young trumpeter Christian Scott. The past is a given.

At the turn of the 20th century, jazz  – or "jass" – referred to the kind of music created by obscure black musicians and played in brothels. The word itself was slang for making love.

At early light, jazz was simply a synthesis of Western harmonic language and forms combined with the rhythms and melodic inflections of Africa. In the 60s, the genre waxed emotional, screaming, moaning and piercing the ear with atonality. The 70s was schizophrenic: The decade witnessed a revival, a return to traditional concepts like Big Band. Newness came from a fusion with rock and the modal themes and drone effects of Eastern religion. In the 80s, the jazz train gained speed with a stronger emphasis on Afro-Latino sounds, especially Brazilian. And so on..

Today, Christian is operating way outside the box and he is man with a mission. Christian wants nothing less than to create a space that gives other young jazz musicians like himself room to breathe and grow. He believes labels such as jazz  and dusty old rules are constraints that get in the way of the muse and making good music. The sound of this New Orleans native is variously dusky and warm, subtle, soulful and subdued, or rock-infused. His collaborations run the gamut from hip hop to jazz. In other words, Christian's music is about as easy to capture in a catchphrase as quicksilver.

Critics regularly compare Christian to Miles Davis. Like his musical hero, Christian is fearless about the use of silence. He is upfront about his influences. Miles Davis made a splash with his 1958 release "Live at Newport,"  which also included Bill Evans on piano, John Coltrane on tenor sax and Cannonball Adderley on alto sax. Fifty years later, in November 2008, Christian released his tribute: "Live from Newport." The past and future of jazz trumpet in two easy pieces.

Press the "play" button on Christian's podcast, to learn more, including how the jazz trumpeter got his start working with his famous uncle, Donald Harrison, an Art Blakey alum and another of the stand out special guests at the 2009 Jazz Celebration.

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