Jan 7, 2011
When someone looks for a top-notch drummer for their sessions, you can be sure that Kendrick Scott is on the short list. Besides anchoring Terence Blanchard's band for years, Scott has recorded and toured with the likes of The Crusaders, Lizz Wright, Dianne Reeves, Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Joe Lovano and Kenny Garrett. He was the backbone of the 50th Annivesary Monterey Jazz All-Stars band, which included Blanchard, James Moody, Benny Green, Dennis Hodge and Nnenna Freelon.
Scott is also a bandleader in his own right, leading a band he calls the Kendrick Scott Oracle. His records on his own label, World Culture Music, which has released CDs from other artists, including Mike Moreno and Julie Hardy. He'll take his band back into the studio later this year, to record a new album. In the meanwhile, his road schedule is intense, performing with Blanchard, the Oracle, and on a special bill of Houston-born players at the 92nd Street Y.
Kendrick found time to speak to me during all these engagements, and talked about his label, his band, and prjects he'd like to tacke in the coming years. Click here to listen to the conversation, including tunes featuring Kendrick's inimitable drumming, including:
Kendrick Scott Oracle - "A View From Above" from The Source. Kendrick's supporting musicians on this track are a who's who of young jazz lions of today - Seamus Blake, Walter Smith III and Myron Walden on sax, Mike Moren on guitar, Derrick Hodge on bass, Aaron Parks on piano and Scott on drums. The track runs that gamut from dreamy to frenetic, with Moreno's guitar supplying the former, and Blake and Walden trading off blistering solos for the latter. Scott is at the center of this musical hurricane, and he holds it together with both strength and subtlety.
Herbie Hancock - "Actual Proof" from an unreleased recording Live at Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Berlin, Germany on June 20, 2008. Jack DeJohnette is a main influence of Scott, so it's no wonder that Herbie Hancock tapped Kendrick to fill his chair on this unusual date from 2008. The band that night - Hancock on keyboards, Terence Blanchard on trumpet, James Genus on bass, Gregoire Maret on harmonica and Scott on drums.
Gretchen Parlato - Title Track from In A Dream. One of Kendrick's favorite vocalists to work with, Gretchen no only sings, but writes lyrics for previously instrumental jazz tracks. This one, written by pianist Robert Glasper, features a backing band of Lionel Loueke on guitar, Aaron Parks on keyboards, Derrick Hodge on bass and Scott on drums and percussion.
Terence Blanchard - "Mantra" from A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina). Scott recieved a Grammy Award for appearing on this now classic recording, which included this spiritual track he wrote for the project. He has described the number as a "mantra for healing and renewal." The band is Blanchard on trumpet, Aaron Parks on piano, Brice Winston on sax, Derrick Hodge on bass, Scott on drums. and Zack Harmon on tabla. The strings are the Northwest Sinfonia, conducted by Blanchard.