A forward-thinking trumpeter and bandleader, Christian Scott (who is also recognized by his adopted West African name of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah), is a lauded performer known for his genre-bending approach to jazz. Emerging in the mid-2000s, Scott quickly distinguished himself playing a maverick style of post-bop that drew from his New Orleans roots, and combined modal jazz, electric fusion, post-rock, and hip-hop influences. It was a sound he championed to acclaim on 2007's Anthem, which he recorded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He has also drawn extensively from Latin and African traditions, as well as electronic dance music idioms, aesthetics he explored on 2012's Christian a Tunde Adjuah, and 2017's Grammy-nominated The Emancipation Procrastination.
Born in New Orleans in 1983, Scott received his first trumpet at age 12 as a gift from his mother and grandmother. As Scott's uncle was modern jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison, it was no surprise that Scott soon became very proficient on the trumpet — so good, in fact, that Harrison began having him play at his gigs. Following in his uncle's footsteps, Scott enrolled at the prestigious New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and then at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he received a full scholarship. There, he was selected to be part of the Berklee Monterey Quartet in 2004, chosen from four of the school's finest musicians, and played at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Though Scott had already appeared on record with his uncle, he made his major-label solo debut at age 22 on Concord Jazz with 2006's Rewind That. The record combined rock and R&B motifs with modern jazz, featured Harrison as a guest performer, and was nominated for a Grammy later that year.
Scott returned in 2007 with Anthem, a passionate response to the suffering of his fellow New Orleanians post-Hurricane Katrina. In 2010, Scott released his third studio album, Yesterday You Said Tomorrow. His musical ambition manifested itself expansively in 2012 with the release of his fifth album, the double-disc Christian a Tunde Adjuah, which he titled after his adopted West African name. In 2015, he returned with Stretch Music, an even more experimental, genre-bending album with heavy electronic influences. Featured on the album were guest appearances from saxophonist Braxton Cook and flutist Elena Pinderhughes.
At the end of March 2017, Scott released Ruler Rebel, a politically charged set that he announced was the first in a series he dubbed The Centennial Trilogy. The second and third volumes in the trilogy, Diaspora and The Emancipation Procrastination, followed in June and October, respectively. The series was intended to honor the 100th birthday of recorded jazz, while contemplating the political and social ills that still tear at the fabric of America. In 2018, The Emancipation Procrastination picked up a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. The following year, Scott returned with yet another genre-bending album, Ancestral Recall. Featuring contributions by singer Saul Williams, flutist Elena Pinderhughes, saxophonist Logan Richardson, and percussionist/singer Weedie Braimah, the LP earned Scott another Grammy nod in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category. ~ Marisa Brown