Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah – Review

Turner Sims Intern Sabine Russell gives a review of the Christian Scott concert…

On Thursday 16 November, I attended Turner Sims’ concert starring the critically acclaimed jazz musician Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah. The two-time Edison Award-winning and Grammy Award-nominated trumpeter, composer, producer, instrument designer and music executive presented music from Ruler Rebel, the first record from his new series The Centenial Triology – commemorating the 100th anniversary of first jazz record in 1917.

Having never seen Christian live before, I was excited to delve into his jazz-driven experimental sound world. Morgan Rickman, a third year music student at the University of Southampton, warmed up the audience with a light jazz set, showcasing his fantastic guitar skills; supported by regular band mates to create a relaxed yet bustling atmosphere in the foyer. The auditorium was at near-full capacity once everyone had found their seats. The performance commenced with a welcome speech by the infamous Soweto Kinch before the full band came onto the stage, adorned with all manner of funky clothes and the all-important gold jewellery – something that Christian Scott is famous for. The hall was suddenly filled with a plethora of jazz and funk inspired sounds, giving energy and intrigue to every member of the audience. The powerful unison sections were beautifully balanced with the complex and intricate improvisation of each band member, demonstrating clearly their immense musical talent and a controlled captivation of the audience.

Soweto made another appearance when he joined Christian and the band for a song (see top picture), and this was one of the highlights of the evening for me; the award-winning alto-saxophonist wowed the audience with a fast but incredibly soulful improvisation. The attention of the audience was highlighted by the complete silence between songs as we waited tentatively for the next sonorous experience. The sound world was like nothing else: musical genius, completely entrancing, meaningful and innovative.

Christian Scott signs  copies of his latest CD 

Personally, the moments in the performance that resonated with me most were the talks that Christian gave about the meanings behind his pieces, some of his childhood experiences and some thoughts to reflect on. Christian raised issues concerning xenophobia to gender equality and social political issues. His views were refreshing and humbling, and I believe that if more people thought and acted as Christian does, the world would be a much better place.

The experience of watching Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah perform was like no other. Not only was the musical quality absolutely sensational – leaving everyone on the edges of their seats – but the band mates that Christian spoke so highly about and how we as humans should treat one another; it will stay with me for a long time. If nothing else, this is exactly how you should feel after attending a concert.

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