The Kaje talks public perception to Christian Scott

Christian Scott is without any doubt one of the world’s most highly respected contemporary jazz musicians. While jazz is far from household name material these days, Scott has managed to cross over genre borders and bring his trumpet centric compositions to the mainstream. With his eighth album “Christian aTunde Adjuah” boasting a phenomenal 23 tracks, Scott is being celebrated for his journeys through the personal and social. Having fallen in love with the Grammy Award nominated composer’s earlier recordings, hear at The Kaje we jumped at the chance to hang out backstage with Scott as he prepared for a show at the Birmingham Symphony Hall…

A lot of critics are hailing “Christian aTunde Adjuah” as your most personal to date, was that an intention of yours?

It is interesting because a lot of people are saying that about the record, but I don’t think it is. All of them are personal. It is like saying which child is the most personal kid of yours. To me it is a little absurd but I understand it. People feel that way because of the name of it. The name completion. They  see that and automatically it makes them think the record has to be more personal.

People are maybe reading more into the title than was intended…

Of course they are. There is nothing wrong with that. I understand it. That is definitely what happened.

On the record it is not just the personal that you deal with. There are many tracks dealing with social and global issues. So from that point of it is not necessarily a personal record…

I learned a long time ago that you can use music as a vehicle to address the issues of your time. Things that need to be changed. Things you would like to see different. Things you would encourage people to engage more energy in changing. I don’t have the mind that says when I see an issue that it has to be completely different, some issues come from the situation that lead to them. Sometimes you can have the greatest minds of the world reaching a consensus yet the same shit happens. I like to use my music to address these things without telling people what to think. I just think it is important that people think.

It is almost challenging people…

Yeah, I am just saying “what do you think?” I don’t have the personality type that thinks my way of approaching things is right. That is absurd. But there are a lot of things going on in our time period that are pretty bad.

I grew up in New Orleans and that has always been a victim of the power struggle. Some people have to starve damn near to death just to survive in a place like that. There are some people out there going through some really difficult shit and there is a whole world of people out there who don’t care. That’s heavy.

Do you feel as someone with a public profile, that you have a responsibility to use it wisely and raise due attention?

Lots of people have a platform, but they don’t always think about what they are saying. In music a lot of people are speaking about the things they see. But having met a lot of artists, I am not necessarily sure that you want to have these people telling your children how to think or what to feel. Some of the stuff that comes out of their mouths as artists is scary shit. For me that is part of the reason I attack or deal with any issue, I am always very careful not to superimpose my entire feelings on it. They are not the most important feelings. I have a voice and an outlet and I try to study these issues and dilemmas, but I am in no way trying to dictate to people how they should. I just want them to deal with them somehow.

With your public profile constantly growing, do you feel extra pressure when creating new music?

I think a lot of musicians in this era they get really weary because you could make 2 or 3 records in a year, now most guys are lucky to make one every 2 1/2 or 3 years. We have been lucky enough, if you count this double record as 2, then it is our 9th record in as many years. I think at this point my body of work speaks for itself. Anyone who has listened to my music knows that I take a lot of chances and that doesn’t mean I succeed all the time. Everytime I fail at something I can learn from it.

I try not to operate from the space of fear. That doesn’t mean you don’t have fear, everyone does. But I don’t let it dictate the music I make. It can’t come out musically as this is what I am most prepared for in life.

Has your ambition always just been played out through music?

I grew up boxing. My Grandfather was big Chief in the Black Indian tradition. I watched him as a child in front of hundreds of people, so there are different things you develop over time. Watching someone being that big and important, I learned to adjust different facets of my personality. Being in a situation where I was surrounded by some many people and having to approach those people with care and compassion. Music is what I do but it is not the medium that speaks exclusively for who I am as a person. It is probably to best known frame. There are always more layers.

You have in your career worked with so many great talents, which collaboration has taken you the most by surprise?

Thom Yorke is the one I never saw happening. I have always been such a huge Radiohead fan, ever since I was in High School. It wasn’t a very popular band for blacks in New Orleans. People were just like “what the hell is this?” So I had to fight those battles. It is interesting as it was actually quite hard to grow up having to deal with that.

I know this is a little off path, but it makes me think of all the times I had to defend these different types of music to my peers. It didn’t ever matter what type of people they were as it would even happen at Berkeley-whether it is defending Radiohead to black kids in New Orleans or Kid Ori to white kids at Berkeley-there is always something. But turning people onto something that they think they hate, I do not use that word liberally.

Somebody that I haven’t worked with that I would love to work with… This is going to sound crazy but I want to work with Rakim. Just because I am the Hip Hop generation. What he did to Hip Hop is Max Roach and Baby Dodds or Chick Webb. I don’t want to say it is jazz but his rhythms are so creative, This guy invented flow. I like artists who do something in music that no one has done before, but they don’t get talked about a lot. Rakim did something that changed music. I get goosebumps thinking about it. Rakim is the God MC.

“Christian aTunde Adjuah” is out now.

Interview and Photographs by Jeremy Williams

ALBUM REVIEW: LZ7 “Light”

Record Label: Fierce
Release Date: 25.10.2010

Forget the X Factor, Manchester  based hip-hop inspired pop collective LZ7 are just what the UK music industry are missing. Whilst comparisons to everything from Black Eyed Peas to N Dubz are inevitable, this upbeat quartet have enough of their own sound to defy soundalike status. Their upbeat message of positivity could have so easily gone wrong, but it is delivered in a manner that wreaks authenticity.

Opening with lead single “This Little Light” the tone for the record is set immediately. Their no frills approach delivers a burst of pure but credible pop. The universal sound perfect radio fodder that will get bodies moving from the car to the dance floor. However, “This Little Light” is just the introduction and “Light” goes from strength to strength as the album grows.

To say that “Ditto” is the albums strongest track almost seems too bold a statement as with each listen another song comes to the fore. However, “Ditto” will, in my opinion, be the song that breaks the group into the commercial mainstream. Having already made a name for themselves on the internet, they need a crossover radio hit and “Ditto” is perfect for the terrain.

Perhaps the most surprisingly infectious turn comes in the form of their “Oh Happy Day” reworking “Four Points”. The subtle use of a gospel refrain in the dancefloor stomp is a perfect example of how LZ7 stand out from the crowd. The use is ingenious and makes for unforgettable listening.

“Light” is without doubt one of the strongest pop albums of 2010. LZ7 have spent years perfecting their craft and now it is time for them to reap the rewards.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

NEWS: dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip Announce Biggest UK Tour

Currently in the midst of a blistering festival run and coming off the back of a second critically acclaimed album, dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip will take on their biggest UK shows yet this autumn.

Kicking off 14th October and running through to Shepherds Bush Empire on November 1st, tickets for the 15 date tour will be available to mailing list members from Wednesday 5th July, to sign up visit – www.lesacvspip.co.uk

* Tickets go on general sale on Friday 7th July *

dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip released their second album Logic Of Chance in May.  The number one Hip Hop album on iTunes it was followed up with a sold out UK tour and has seen them filling prime slots at Glastonbury and Rockness, with Wireless and Bestival still to come.

UK Tour Dates:

14th Oct, HATFIELD, The Forum (Ticket line: 01707 281127)

15th Oct, LEICESTER, O2 Academy (0844 477 2000)

16th Oct, BIRMINGHAM, HMV Institute (0844 248 5037)

17th Oct,    BRISTOL, O2 Academy (0844 477 2000)

19th Oct, CARDIFF, Solus (029 2078 1458)

20th Oct, LEEDS, Stylus (0113 2454650)

21st Oct, NEWCASTLE, University (0191 263 5000)

23rd Oct, GLASGOW, QMU (08444 999 990)

24th Oct, ABERDEEN, The Warehouse (08444 999 990)

26th Oct, MANCHESTER, The Ritz (0161 832 1111)

27th Oct, SHEFFIELD, Plug (01142 413040)

28th Oct, NOTTINGHAM, Ultra (0871 2200260)

30th Oct, SOUTHAMPTON, University (023 8063 2601 / 023 8059 5205)

31st Oct, BRIGHTON, Concorde 2 (01273 673311)

1st Nov, LONDON, Shepherds Bush Empire (0844 477 2000)

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