In all honesty Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, his newest album “Stretch Music” – featuring local Bay Area artist and flutist Elena Pinderhughes and the concept of stretch music as a sound are fairly new to me. Up until a few months ago I knew nothing about him, his amazing band or this form of fusion jazz until it suddenly burst upon my radar when at all once several close friends were all telling me I had to get up on it. Funny enough, the main reason people were hitting me up about it was because our styles, brands if you will, clicked immediately.
So I was incredibly lucky to be able to attend his show at Yoshi’s in Oakland this last Thursday, and meet up with him and the band before the show started. Everyone was incredibly warm and receptive, and were quick to warn us that it was going to be an energetic show. No one disappointed, every player from the band brought a high energy performance that made their instruments proud. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah took the time to properly introduce each member of the band, and gave each member ample time to show off their talents and room to (I assume) improvise and go into their own expositions.
CS knew how to play the room, during the few intermissions where he would introduce himself the band, and discuss songs he would play, and their history he would often crack jokes with the audience and tell stories bout his band members. How they met, their potential, and how they all came together to create this ensemble of young and exceedingly talented musicians. The way he spoke of them, and the apparent age gap between them, made clear the way in which Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah see’s this band – and possibly his role as a celebrated musician is that of a teacher and mentor to younger talent. (Again to be clear I’ve only known of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah for a few months, so pardon if this is an extremely trait of his character).
It was admirable to see him discuss how important it is for young artists to know how to conduct themselves, and how to survive, while on tour – and to go beyond “son’in” them and truly teaching them is something that seems to be uncommon with musicians (from the outside at least).
The band did a fantastic job covering the new album, and covered two other songs during their set including a composition by Herbie Hancock, and The Hills by The Weeknd – which was surprisingly amazing, I want a recording of that cover.
When it was time to close out the show, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah told the crowd a story – the story of when the NOLA police humiliated, emasculated, racial profiled, and threatened to murder him. It was a heart wrenching story that, as he noted, has become a normal narrative even to white audiences who were mostly unaware of us civil liberty violations a few years back. Before the public facade of our post racial society began to crumble and fade away.
The story ended, and lead us into a composition he wrote to try to understand the multitude of emotions he experienced that night. The song, much like the rest of the show, punched you directly in the gut has CS’ horn trumpeted in shrill and angered cries. Perfectly capturing the desperation, the anger, the sadness and humiliation he described. I can never know what he went through, what so many black americans go through with the police, but the song shared a small glimpse of the emotions he felt. That alone was powerful and overwhelming.
A huge thank you to Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, and his fantastic band – with a special shoutout to Elena! Thank you for playing at Yoshi’s and repping the Bay proper. Thank you for properly introducing me to Stretch Music, and thank you for continuing the tradition of artists and musicians that are on it, socially, publicly and artistically.
You can keep up with Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, and his band @
Upcoming Tour Dates:
October 18th – Santa Montica
December 12 – New Orleans
December 13 – San Antonio
P.S. – Thanks ya’ll for getting a picture with me, and embarrassing me by holding up my posters! Much Love.