Trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is the purveyor of a style he calls “stretch music,” which, as the name implies, allows for flexibility in all aspects of musical creation. Ancestral Recall marries the music of the past, present and future, particularly as it relates to jazz.
The album’s African roots are primarily remembered through rhythm and a generous array of traditional drums. Scott’s trumpet, the flute of his long-time associate Elena Pinderhughes, and other “modern” instruments including bass, piano, sax and a drum set, seem to represent today. Meanwhile, a ton of electronic devices, many of which are manned by Scott, take the sound to newer places
The album opener, “Her Arrival,” begins with drumming and a cacophony of extraneous voices as, apparently, people start to gather. It is Scott’s heralding trumpet that sends out the invitation to celebration. The event continues on the next cut, “I Own the Night,” with vocalist and spoken-word artist Saul Williams in the center of the imagined circle.
It’s odd, though somehow refreshing, to hear a drum playing the march rhythm that introduces “Overcomer.” Scott’s soulful horn, which often boasts both a triumphant and mournful tone, rings out from above what sounds like an African choir singing and chanting. The song is a beauty, as is the next cut, the quiet, love-filled ballad, “Songs She Never Heard,” that features alto saxophonist Logan Richardson. Its quietude offers the opportunity to hear the fine piano of Lawrence Fields.
Credit goes to the many talented drummers who set the rhythm and atmosphere of the album, including New Orleans’ Joe Dyson and Weedie Braimah plus Corey Fonville, who’s deeply associated with this city.
Scott’s Ancestral Recall, which is filled with his original compositions, challenges listeners to accept his sometimes thought-provoking, often moving and occasionally perplexing visions. No one ever said Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah was easy.