How do you continue to go against the grain in today’s jazz scene?
CS: A long time ago, I decided if I was going to have that be an element of my music, I was going to be seen as persona non grata in a lot of contexts. Much of it has made me ineligible for a lot of resources, festivals, television shows and other things. Even if I have a good day, I still am aware of other people that are going through really hard, tumultuous things. I don’t want to be the person who has a platform and neglects the things I see in my life and experiences.
If other people choose to do that, I don’t know what their deal is, and I can’t tell you what they want their legacy to be. I would prefer to finish everything I do in my life, and have my children, wife and family be able to look at me and say “he’s a person who has flaws and issues like every other person does. And he worked on himself like every other person could. But if he saw something that he knew in his heart was wrong, and if he felt by expressing it he could do it some justice and try and find a means of eradicating the problem, he would do everything in his power to do so.”
It doesn’t matter if I ever win another award or get to play another major jazz festival in America. I would rather not garner any of those things and speak honestly about the things that I see my people endure in this country and all over the world. It’s 2013, and a lot of this stuff needs to end. One of the projects I’m thinking of is what we’re developing a suite of music for. I’m thinking the title of that next record is going to be called The Emancipation Procrastination. So I’m not done yet.
EBONY: What lies ahead for Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah?
CS: We’re going out on the road in Europe for two months, so that’s going to be the time period where I workshop the music and figure out exactly which songs will go on which records. But the main thing I’m working on is the score for my brother Kiel’s first feature film, Epilogue. On one level, it’s emotionally exhausting because it is so intense. The film is just something I think that any person that wants to live in America needs to see. It’s very important to me, and I want to make sure the soundscape is at least half as good as what he’s written. I think it’s going to change a lot for film in general. But it will change a lot in terms of people’s perspectives on what Black film directors can be authorities on.