Christian Scott

Trumpeter Christian Scott: Not your traditional jazz artist

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role in concerned, I see myself as the guy that goes ahead of the pack to check out all of the different ideas, conduits and textures and vernaculars musically and try to frame them in a way that makes it safer for the younger to be able to come through and build their own realities.


My brother is actually the greatest artist I’ve ever been around. I’ve never met a guy that has such a wealth of encyclopedia knowledge of just art in general. He went to the Cooper Union for visual art and was class speaker when he graduated. He’s an amazing visual artist. But now he’s a film director and he’s applied everything that he learned in art to film. He’s been working hand-in-hand with Spike Lee and all the stuff that he’s been doing this summer, including the "Mike Tyson Undisputed Truth" play on Broadway. He’s worked with Spike on When the Levees Broke, got his own short film called The Roe Effect that won pretty much every major American film festival for short films and he’s working on his feature film that he’s probably going to be making in the next year or two. So Kiel is amazing, man. I’m never short on inspiration when he’s around because there literally isn’t anything that he can’t do in his field. That’s the inspiration for me to get better everyday as well.

EBONY: You’re relationship also with your fiancé, Isadora, has served as musical inspiration but how’s it changed you?

CS: It’s just a life thing, I guess. I think human beings in anything that we do, the experiences that you have and the transitions you go through. I don’t think it’s affected anything as far as my artistry, but it’s an experience where you can build with someone and you know that person loves you unconditionally—or you try to get as close to unconditional as possible. But to grow with somebody that’s a very important thing, something that I’ve always coveted. As a man to be able to have someone that always has your back, is always looking out for you and is cognizant about the things that you’re going through and tries to compensate and make sure that you have the things that you need in order to navigate the world. It’s going to affect everything that you do.
I think artistically, it’s one of those things is that it’s helped me even out my music. I think before I was engaged, I had a few different relationships and when you’re young and going through stuff you experience somethings. But a lot of times when you’re young you don’t know how to navigate relationships in a way where you’re starting to relate to each other, and learning to deal with it as a unit. And because of that the way you cope with those thing is a little bit different when you have someone that’s making a concerted effort to learn you and understand you. So when I was younger, I might be mad at something artistically and all that you might be able to get from my playing is that I was angry. Whereas now, the situation that I have with Isadora with so many layers and so many contexts combined with all of the issues that I try to speak about musically, even music serves as a form of catharsis and being with her has allowed me to see the light in all of those experiences. It’s given me more layers instead of being upset about certain things. It’s given me a more broad and well-rounded view of things I’ve gone through and issues I want to speak on. I’ve tried to put all that stuff into words, but I can’t really put her contribution to my life into words because she's going to be my wife.

EBONY: What’s your level of satisfaction with the project?

CS: I’m never really satisfied. Playing music is a daily process. So I might make a good record or a great record and then something comes up that I didn’t expect or something gives me a little bit of trouble so I’ve got to go back to work. It never really stops. I always learned that the moment you think you’ve arrived and got it all together then you might as well pack it up. So for me, I just try and keep moving. The goals are constantly evolving, they’re constantly changing. Whether you pass one up or you reach one, you just keep moving onto the next one, even if you don’t know what it is.

EBONY: Is reaching and impacting a new audience important to you?

CS: I think for any artist they want to reach and touch as many people as possible. I think anyone who says that’s not important to