My early 2007 schedule is heavy with jazz shows, so I'm going to try to write something as often as I can, for my own good, if not for yours!
Christian Scott is a 22 year old trumpet player from New Orleans and he is a GREAT player. His VERY young guitar player was GREAT as well. The YOUNG lady playing an electric upright bass was PHENOMENAL. And did I mention all of them are YOUNG!
So all of this would/should have made for a great night of brilliant, cool jazz being played by fresh, inspired musicians in the fabulous confines of the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, a literal closet of a room (if your sitting in the 6th row you're in the back row) with amazing acoustics and great over-all vibe.
Unfortunately the drummer, also young, played from the first moment 'till the last so completely over-the-top loud that there was no dynamic in the music or room for give-and-take between the players. And what was worse was that going hand-in-hand with playing too loud, he WASN'T LISTENING to anything anyone else was playing. He was only listening to one player on the stage.
This guy did have amazing chops and he knew it (at one particularly self-centered moment I was reminded of the classic Terrell Owens line, "I love me some ME!") but he destoyed everything they tried to do. I had to put in ear plugs (a first for me at the Kuumbwa) and people were being driven back.
I stayed only because I wanted to try and hear what Scott obviously hears; it's his band and if that's the way the drummer is playing then his boss must be OK with it, but I couldn't for the life of me find ANY cohesion between the way the drummer was playing and what the other musicians were doing.
The compositions had a heady, cool, mid-60s "post-bop" sound and feel, but the drummer thought he was playing with (himself) Prince or something supercharged like that. It was brutal.
In the end I left feeling beaten up, but also enthused about the amazing quality of Christian Scott. If you haven't heard of him you will, if you follow jazz. He is right there with Nicholas Payton, Roy Hargrove, Terrance Blanchard and other young trumpet guns. Unlike many young players he didn't try to blow us away with his technical ability; he was smoooooth, subtle and had a breathy sound very reminicient of Miles Davis. This guy is the real deal.
And his guitar player, his last name is Stevens if I remember, was a very interesting, excellent player as well. It's always great to see truly outstanding young talent.
I look forward to seeing these players again, and again, but I swear I'm going to find out what that drummers name is, so I can AVOID him like the plague!!
>Unfortunately the drummer, also young, played from the first moment 'till the last so completely over-the-top loud
THOMAS PRIDGEN OF BERKELEY HIGH SCHOOL WINS LYONS SCHOLARSHIP TO BERKLEE
15-Year-Old Drummer Is Youngest-Ever Winner
Monterey and Boston, September 16, 1999 -- Thomas Pridgen, of Berkeley, Calif., is the fourth recipient of the James L. Lyons Scholarship to Berklee College of Music, alma mater of Quincy Jones, Joe Lovano, Diana Krall, Branford Marsalis and a host of other major figures in contemporary music. Pridgen, 15, is an outstanding drummer who began recording music professionally at age 8.
Thomas Pridgen is a 15 [~22 now] year old from El Cerrito ,California. He has recorded 11 Gospel albums and plays with the Bay Area Grammy All Star Band. He won the Guitar Center Drum-Off at age 9 and was the youngest recepient for a Zildjian endorsement in the history of the company. Thomas has studied with Dave Garibaldi, Walfredo Reyes Jr, Troy Luketta, and Curtis Nutall. He is endorsed by Pearl, Zildjian, Remo, LP Percussion, Rhythm Tech, and Zendrum. Thomas is also the recipient of a 4 year scholarship to Berklee College of Music; he is youngest musician to ever receive this scholarship. He has played in clinics with Walfredo Reyes, Jr. and Dennis Chambers.
Yep, that sounds like the guy; Scott said he was from Oakland.
I'm not surprised that he has good credentials, as I said he had big chops, but it was the most thoughtless, self-centered drumming for that style of music I've probably ever seen.
Maybe that particular night he was flying on something, but the lack of interplay was unforgivable.
That he has won contests doesn't surprise me either because that was EXACTLY how he was playing; as if he were all alone on stage trying to show us all just how AMAZING he is, every moment!
IMO technical ability means nothing if you don't LISTEN.
THANKS for the info, Spearman! I'll be looking out for Thomas Pridgen!
Kinda makes sense, if this guy was winning awards at the age of 15, ya gotta imagine the people around him have been telling him he's the cream of the crop for a quite a few years now.
He's still young, he's bound to mature...eventually.
My first post and Christian Scott caught my eye.. whoooo hoooo! This guy is amazing! I definitely have to agree that the drummer was LOUD and obtrusive. I saw them at Yoshi's and at first I was very annoyed by his loud drum technique. Especially at an elegant Jazz Club, come on!
But towards the end of the set he began to simmer down a little a display his amazing ability of complete dynamic control. Going from an extreme uprage to the quiest roll of the hat and ride. It gave me hope that he can bring it down if he wants too. That kid is hot, but he definitely needs to learn how to please the Jazz ears for sure.
To show up the 15 year old drummer, an 8 year old drummer came out on stage towards the end of the set! He was bashful but he had the funk beat pumpin and the band improved to his beat, it was "cute". Ironic he pumps a funk beat, it was almost a tribute to James Brown =)
Unfortunately Christian was tired, as he said so himself. I wish He would have played more... He offered up the stage to his beautiful bass player, guitar players and pianist most of the set. But he is smokin' He has great control and creates beautiful, smooth themes.
For anyone that appreciates jazz with an R & B feel, thumbs up to Christian Scott.
***WELCOME JAHMUSICA ***
Alright! Glad to see some posts on a jazz review.
Thanks Hedspace! Next time he comes west we have to check him out