I’m a music guy. And when you’re a music guy like me that means you like concerts. I just so happen to be one of those rare people in modern society that prefers jazz music over all other forms of music. I love jazz because it’s this chameleon term that refers to not only a style of improvisational music, but moreover a life perspective.
Granted, I know you probably don’t have thoughts like that when you listen to Kenny G.. so to clarify.. when I speak about jazz I’m speaking from a more modern interpretation. Jazz of the current times includes influences from all around the world and incorporates digital and acoustic instrumentation to communicate in a way that reflects and echoes the beauty of the moment.
Jazz celebrates the here and now
On September 19th I took myself out on a little date to see Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah at Bohemian Caverns. Luckily for me, the time was just creeping upon golden hour so I was enamored with the light on U Street. Before the gig I walked around taking pictures on the way to my favorite pizza spot.
So this pizza spot is called &pizza. It’s pretty much a Chipotle styled create your own pizza spot. But the kicker with this place is that it’s actually the best pizza you will ever have in your life. On top of that you can pile on as many toppings as you’d like without someone telling you, “(insert topping here) is extra”.
After the first time I had &pizza I was so conflicted. I wasn’t sure whether I was more happy about the fact that my body was just blessed by the best pizza in the world, or depressed because all the pizza I’ve had throughout my 22 years of life has been a sham. Literally, it’s so good and affordable that I began to question the justice in a pizza place charging over $10 for one topping and run of the mill ingredients.
After filling myself up with pizza, I decide to take the rest of my leftovers back to the car. As I’m doing so I catch the last bit of red and orange hues of the sunset before night falls. The weather was a little warm for my liking but beautiful nonetheless.
While retracing my footsteps back towards the car, I remember being acutely present in the moment. Like most people, I don’t particularly enjoy going to concerts by myself. But I do very much see the value in taking time to just be out in the world anonymously. When you’re not vying for anyone’s attention or looking for interaction, you begin to pick up on the beauty in the rhythm of your surroundings. I think I was able to catch some of that beauty in these pictures I took before entering the venue.
Before entering Bohemian Caverns, I snapped a picture and reminisced on the two times in the past I saw Christian Scott live. I remember the first time I saw him it had snowed earlier in the week and the sidewalks were all slushy and icy. My buddy Josh who now lives in TX was able to come and he almost slipped on the ice as we walked back to the car. On the way home we laughed and talked about how inspiring the gig was to us as musicians and artists.
The last time I saw Christian was last summer when I took my girl out on a date. This was her second jazz concert, but the first time she’d seen jazz in its proper environment. I remember watching her face as Christian’s trumpet ripped through the caverns while simultaneously destroying her pre-conceived notions of jazz music being sleepy music. I’ve included a couple photos from that night below.
As I took my normal seat next to the drummer, I sat and people watched. I soon spotted Christian and noticed his interesting style choices of the day. On this gig he was wearing a basketball tank with “Cassius Clay” on the front, some African garb pants, and some Nike Air Max’s along with his normal gold necklaces.
Just a quick background… Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is a trumpet player born in Louisiana. Christian just recently released an album called “Stretch Music” which aims to in his own words,
“create a sound that is genre blind in its acculturation of other musical forms, languages, textures, conventions and processes.”
Christian’s attire is just one way he chooses to illustrate his identity as a black male in the United States with African/Caribbean roots. What I love about Christian is that his music also personifies and resonates who he is as an individual. His explanations of his songs highlight the intricacies of his world view and communicates them in a beautiful way. I truly believe I love his music because I identify with him as a creator on certain levels. If you want to know more about Christian, check out his “bio/concept” page here.
I also greatly enjoying seeing Christian because his drummer Corey Fonville is killin and is from Virginia. Corey was rocking a really interesting kit where he used what looked to be a big djembe as a kick drum along with a sample pad to trigger some hip hop-esque snare samples.
Each of the bandmates has their own style and sound which stand out on their own to help create extremely sophisticated and dynamic music. This was the first time I’ve seen Christian with Elena Pinderhughes in the band on flute and she was amazing. Her flute playing adds a unique texture to his music that you don’t here often on the bandstand.
Apart from the pictures I’ve posted here, the rest of the time I was sitting and soaking in the music. Sometimes I’d just watch and be blown away by the whole atmosphere. It’s so fun to see how jazz moves through such a small venue and affects people of all ages from all different types of backgrounds. Other times I’d just sit with my eyes closed and focus on certain sounds within the composition. I like to close my eyes when I listen sometimes because it’s easy to get sidetracked with your eyes taking in so much information. Sometimes my brain will forget that I’m actually there to listen to music.
After the gig I went to the bar and bought a CD and waited in line for Christian to sign it. I then walked outside, met up with a few friends who unfortunately missed the show because it sold out. On the way back to the car I walked slowly while replaying some of the night’s songs in my head. While I walked I spotted this little restaurant with some hanging lights that had people sitting outside. The mood created by the lighting was really beautiful and a perfect visual nightcap to an enjoyable evening.
To conclude this photo journal, I’d like to take a moment to point you to where you can pick up Christian’s music. You can get the new “Stretch Music” album off iTunes here. You can also download the Stretch Music app. The app contains the music of the album in a mixer format that allows an artist to practice alongside the CD within a customized environment with access to chart music and other features. I personally haven’t downloaded the app yet, but if you want to find out more about it you can check it out on iTunes here.
With that being said I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to hit me up if you want to come with on my next pizza/jazz concert evening adventure. I would love to have some company and see how you enjoy jazz music in a live setting. If not go out and support your local music scene.
Peace and blessings!