Scott has always been acutely aware of the legacy of jazz and its role within the broader context of 20th century history. He learned much of it first hand from his uncle, saxophonist Donald Harrison, an alum of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. “Some people start with bebop, some people start with post-bop, some people start with fusion,” says Scott, who first picked up the trumpet when he was 12. “My uncle took me back to the very beginning of the music. He taught me stuff that Buddy Bolden was playing in the early 1900s.”
Scott was already proficient enough to join his uncle’s band when he was 13, and he played on Harrison’s 2000 recording, Paradise Found, when he was 16 – all of which gave him a considerable head start in relation to his peers in high school and at Berklee. In 2002 he made his solo debut with his self-released and selftitled album, Christian Scott. In 2006, after earning significant attention and landing a record deal with Concord Jazz, Scott released Rewind That, an album whose mixture of modern jazz, rock and R&B garnered both criticism and praise – and ultimately a Grammy nomination. Anthem, released the following year, was in large part a statement about the political and social dynamics that enabled many people to ignore the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Live at Newport, released at the end of 2008, captures Scott and his four-piece ensemble performing at the JVC Jazz Festival in Rhode Island earlier that year.