Young Lords exhibit, Christian Scott at Harlem Stage
Ron Scott | 10/8/2015, 12:25 p.m.
“The Lower East Side Young Lords exhibit preserves the spirit of this community and captures a moment of history,” said historian Pepe Flores. “We hope it encourages young people to continue this spirit and carry on this history.”
For a complete listing of time schedules, contact the specific venue.
Last week’s storm that timidly hit Gotham didn’t stop the fans of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah from attending his performance at Harlem Stage. The young trumpeter and composer has navigated his own path in this jazz world. While small groups from trios to quintets have basically become the rule, Scott maintains an eight-musician ensemble.
He has taken the various formed terms of jazz and replaced it with his concept “stretch music.” “I don’t think music should be separated, it’s all about culture,” said Scott. “Race and genres are social constructs made to set differences. We try to apply as many genres as possible into our music, like salsa, West African, classical, blues and rock. It sounds so beautiful when they are in tune with each other the way the environment should be.”
Like Art Blakey and Miles Davis, Scott, at 32 years of age, has a keen eye for serious talent. His ensemble includes some of the best young musicians on the scene, including alto saxophonist Braxton Cook, drummer and Pan-African drum kit Joe Dyson, Lawrence Fields on piano, rhodes and keyboards, Cory Fonville on drums/SPD-S, the bassist Kris Funn, the guitarist Dominic Minix (only 18), flautist Elena Pinderhughes (still attending Manhattan School of Music) and the vibraphonist Warren Wolf.
They opened the show up with the loud “Twin,” a hardcore swing sparking the sounds of Cuba to Scott’s hometown of New Orleans with West African rhythms. “I use two drums to give us that West African sound. The concept of big bass drums came from Africa,” said Scott. “I try to show the relationship between the older drums and the new drums.”
Dyson’s Pan-African drum kit includes the djembe, mondo snare and the dundun (three drums of various sizes). Fonville performs on an SPD electronic drum machine to give that upbeat that guys such as Pharrell and Timbaland use. “It’s hard to hold on to your culture when you are not exposed,” says Scott. “People need to be aware.”
He closed the show with “Klu Klux Police Department,” named after a scary experience he had with New Orleans police officers on a lonely road on his way home from a gig. Roaring loud rhythms hovered as Minix’s guitar brought out glimpses of Jimi Hendrix.
His latest CD, “Stretch Music” (Ropeadope Records), enlists his core group, with Pinderhughes as the featured artist on “Liberation Over Gangsterism.” Her notes fly like varied birds in the sky chattering over what can be. The album finds Scott in a more subdued swing mode with muted trumpet (beautiful notes filled with thoughts of aspirations) and hip-swinging flurries by saxophonist Braxton. There are 11 tracks with eight originals by Scott, and offerings by Funn and Fields. “Stretch Music” provides new arrangements for a new day.