Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
Ropeadope/ Stretch Music
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah tells the patrons attending the recording of Axiom at the Blue Note that they are reevaluating their relationship to Creative Improvised Music, or pejoratively, jazz. Change was definitely in the air, both in terms on the innovative playing of the ensemble and the virus quickly shutting down Manhattan. At one point, Christian says, as long as no one sneezes, we’re on the same page.” Axiom captured that last moment of bliss before the lights went out and the stages went quiet.
The music Scott and his collaborators make is at once familiar and disorienting. On “X. Adjuah (“I Own the Night”) and “The Last Chieftains”, percussionists Weedle Braimah and Corey Fonville are way up front with loud, aggressive rhythms. To me, it sounds like they’ve found a way to take the blast beat from death metal and adapt it to this new setting. It’s all about stretching limits and reevaluating, isn’t it?
As we move on, the rhythms remain creative, but slide back into a supportive role in the ensemble. “Guinevere” is Lawrence Fields (piano) and Scott playing tag on a languid afternoon. Elena Pinderhughes is the John Coltrane to Scott’s Miles Davis in this group. Her flute dances gracefully over electric beats on “Sunrise in Beijing” and other songs.
Aa if we needed a reminder, Axiom testifies to the power of musicians creating music together, in the moment, together in the same room. Live streaming will get us through these dark times. This record makes me excited for the day when we can all gather around a stage together to witness the magic as it happens.