Trumpeter Christian Scott is a deliberate musician with a gift for composition as well as confrontation. His fifth record, “Yesterday You Said Tomorrow” is a smoker that pays dividends as protest music – his provocative tunes have titles like the bristling “K.K.P.D.” (Ku Klux Police Department) and “Angola, LA and the 13th Amendment” – and they quench a thirst for jazz that’s electrifying, absorbing and guaranteed to move you.
Recorded last year by the renowned engineer Rudy Van Gelder, Scott consciously sought to evoke the sound and agitated energy of mid-60s Miles Davis, John Coltrane’s Quartet as well as Bob Dylan and Hendrix. It’s mixed like a rock recording, too, with an analogue-like lushness and detail to revel in. The disc kicks off with a spacey basement jam shaped by guitarist Matt Steven’s wiry guitar with a sitar-like flavor coupled with Jamire Williams’ furious wave of drum notes that slowly fade to a chorus of solid beats. Throughout, Scott’s glorious trumpet often recalls the breathy, snake-like charm of Miles and his band ratifies the leader’s intent with instrumental gusto. The pianist, Milton Fletcher, plays with nothing less than a poetic touch as does the tunefully precise bassist, Kris Funn, but it’s drummer Williams who gives the album a riveting pulse.
Scott’s compositions crackle with authenticity and are performed with a Mingus-like restlessness; here’s where a cover of Thom Yorke’s “The Eraser” becomes a cultural touchstone for Scott’s generation and the emphatic shouts of defiance on “American’t,” a passionate, bitter anthem, bleed through the confines of the recording booth. Thoughtfully programmed, the tracks are surprisingly accessible and flow with purpose, drawing from classic jazz idioms, hip-hop, rock as well as the music of his birthplace, New Orleans. A serious and important document, YYST doesn’t have an ounce of fat – it’s as satisfying an album as you’ll likely hear this year and squarely defines Scott as the man with the horn and a torchbearer for the future. www.christianscott.net
Labels: Christian Scott, Jamire Williams, Kris Funn, Mack Avenue Records, Matt Stevens, Milton Fletcher, Rudy Van Gelder