A pioneer in his own right and the ‘father’ of stretch music, Christian Scott is always looking to fill the void with new rhythms, strong messaging and a better understanding of the elements that bind us all. His music, and his focus on rhythms (African and Native American) over the tired tropes and usual harmonies that typically associate with cultural European music, is bringing audiences into the Jazz fold who may have never found it otherwise. When they get there, he’s ready to tell the stories that should be told: Race history in America, the traditions of First Nations and Creole peoples, equality, unity.
One of the stories Scott told on his appearance of NPR’s Tiny Desk in 2015 touched down on a few of those topics. Driving home from a gig in his native New Orleans, Scott was pulled over by a squad car and forced out of the car by aggressive officers who demanded he strip down and lay flat on the ground. Scott repeatedly asked why he was being pulled over as he was doing nothing wrong, in which one of the officers replied, “I’m the authority, I’m your boss, you will do as I say”. With a gun pointed to his head, Scott calmly quipped “As a taxpayer, I’m actually your boss, and I’d like to know why I’m being harassed”. These are the types of artists that this campaign supports because artists like these put themselves in peril to spearhead the social progress we all benefit from.
The nephew of legendary sax player Donald Harrison, Christian Scott has carved out an impressive legacy for himself as a trumpet player, composer, producer and cultural icon. Born in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward in 1983 and steeped in the jazz that made the city famous, Scott has been awarded two Edison Awards and nominated for two Grammy Awards for his contributions to Jazz music.
After twelve albums, hundreds of performances, dozens of accolades and a cult following around the world, Christian Scott is far from finished telling his truths and helping Jazz evolve. At the age of only 37, he might just be beginning.