After five albums for Concord Records and relentless touring, to say that trumpeter Christian Scott is comfortable on the bandstand would be a massive understatement. Couple this touring schedule with childhood friends joining him on stage and an audience of people who knew him as a child growing up in New Orleans and you have a fearsome group backing a fearless leader ready and willing to go anywhere the music beckons.
At nearly 31 years old, Scott was the elder of the group that performed at Snug Harbor last Saturday night. Playing his first gig with Scott was pianist/keyboardist Kyle Roussel, currently of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Childhood friends, having known each other since they were 9 years old, Max Moran and Joe Dyson joined on bass and drums respectively. The connection between these two musicians is immediate and honest having shared so many musical experiences together, going back to Jesse McBride’s Next Generation ensemble, and including backing Donald Harrison, Jr and in their creative band The Bridge Trio with keyboard player Conun Pappas. Cliff Hines rounded out the group having recently taken over the guitar role from Matt Stevens; Scott’s longtime counterpart and Berklee classmate. Being the newest member of Scott’s working band, based in New York City, Hines did not disappoint in his first outing. Hines’ use of effects, garnering a unique and unpredictable pallet of sounds kept the audience on their toes yearning for the next bend and break in the music.
A special appearance by his wife, Isadora Scott, singing a version of Summertime was one of many highlights of the night. Her subtle, yet precise voice mixed very well with Scott’s open, airy, trumpet sound. You get the impression that she could really open up and let loose when the situation calls for it.
Throughout the entire set the music was very accessible. Heads were bobbing and shoulders were popping in their seats at the dimly lit jazz venue. Yet, the tunes, some newer ones unrecorded, still pushed forward and had a modern take on instrumental music. With new members joining his working band, being recently married, and moving back home to New Orleans, we are left only with excitement as to what’s to come in these next chapters of an already successful career.