Trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah continues his exploration of what he describes as “stretch music,” as he did on his 2015 album of the same name and another release this year, Rebel Ruler. As the term implies, the innovative jazz-based leader pulls from the limitless possibilities of genres and use of instrumentation and electronics to create elasticity in his approach. The forward-thinking trumpeter also turns to some of the artists who have been along on the journey, most notably flautist Elena Pinderhughes, who is prominent on several cuts.
The album opens strongly yet lovingly on the title cut with keyboardist Lawrence Fields, who co-wrote the tune with Scott, lightly stating the melody. As has become characteristic of Scott’s latest works, the ensemble plays an important role in the music’s overall sound. He steps forward to let his trumpet’s brilliance become the focus followed by Pinderhughes’ fluttering and intricate solo. The diaspora connection is most evident in the group’s large percussion section. It includes Corey Fonville on drums and Joe Dyson working on Pan African drums with both applying electronics, plus percussionists Weedie Braimah and Chief Shaka Shaka.
A Latin tinge, enhanced by guitarist Cliff Hines, rhythmically and tonally distinguishes “Our Lady of New Orleans (Herreast Harrison).” It was written by Scott in tribute to his grandmother, who is the widow of Big Chief Donald Harrison Sr.
Hines sets the mood on “No Love,” which with its straight-up, emptier arrangement, offers Scott more room to strut his stuff as a trumpeter and trade bars with saxophonist Braxton Cook.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah proves himself again to be a generous leader on Diaspora. Generosity is naturally a positive trait. That is unless one wants to hear the talented trumpeter just stand up and blow.