JazzTimes is honored to present the premiere of the video for “Scrapple” by Grammy-nominated violinist Curtis Stewart. The track, based on Charlie Parker’s “Scrapple from the Apple,” appears on Stewart’s new album Of Power, a solo collection of original and reimagined pieces inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement; arranged for violin, voice, and electronics; and created during the COVID-19 lockdown. The album is scheduled for release by Bright Shiny Things/Outside in Music on June 19, African American Freedom Day.
Of this piece, Stewart says, “I have always been enamored with the complexity of Charlie Parker, the way the peaks and pops of the melody slash and dance with the cymbal, and fly around the thump of the bass. During this time of quarantine, we have all been spending more time with our computers and I have been getting deeper and deeper into creating electronic music—whose construction reminds me a lot of that interlocked and rhythmic counterpoint. ‘Scrapple,’ based on Bird’s composition, is somewhere between bebop … and trap music.”
In addition to “Scrapple,” Of Power contains interpretations of pieces by J.S. Bach, John Coltrane, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Beethoven, Childish Gambino, Elektra Kurtis, Paganini, Ysaÿe, and Stevie Wonder, along with Stewart’s own compositions. Each track will be accompanied by an original video available on all major streaming platforms.
“I wanted to tear down the practiced facade of a classical violinist to translate personal hardship, protest, and demands for social justice into sustained action and vigilance for the musical community and beyond,” Stewart says. “Of Power treats art as a battery for powering and realizing citizenship.”
Stewart, the son of esteemed jazz tubist Bob Stewart and violinist Elektra Kurtis-Stewart, has enjoyed an eclectic career, ranging from MTV specials with Wyclef Jean and sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden with Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, and Seal to stints at the Kennedy Center with the Jimmy Heath Big Band, appearances as a guest soloist with the New York Philharmonic, and performance installations at the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. He is currently the Chamber Music and New Juilliard Ensemble Manager at the Juilliard School.
For more information on Curtis Stewart, visit his website.