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Before & After with Drummer Kendrick Scott

Listening to Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, the MJQ and more

Elvin Jones
Art Blakey
The Roots
Vijay Iyer with Marcus Gilmore (l.) and Stephan Crump
Kendrick Scott
Kendrick Scott (photo: Mathieu Bitton)

Judging by Facebook posts alone, Kendrick Scott enjoyed an especially engaging summer. The bandleader, drummer and sideman to various jazz headliners-Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, Kurt Rosenwinkel and, most recently, Grégoire Maret, Kurt Elling and Charles Lloyd-performed at major festivals and theaters around the globe, from Los Angeles and Minneapolis to Melbourne, Cologne, Nice, Perugia and Ghent. This fall, he’s seen a number of projects come to fruition, including his fourth album as a leader and first on the Blue Note label, We Are the Drum, featuring his band Oracle (Taylor Eigsti, piano and Rhodes; Michael Moreno, guitar; John Ellis, saxophone and bass clarinet; and bassist Joe Sanders) with a guest turn by vocalist Lizz Wright. Next year he’ll participate in a Blue Note supergroup along the lines of Our Point of View, which he took part in throughout 2014.

Scott’s dizzying schedule is indicative of the grounded consistency and flexibility of his drumming that keeps him in demand. His new tenure with Lloyd, which he admits brings a fresh set of challenges with every concert, remained the driving force of the summer. It was this gig that brought Scott to the Nice Jazz Festival, where the following Before & After, the drummer’s first, took place on a stage the festival inaugurated this year for live interviews and presentations. The date was July 8-also, incidentally, Scott’s 35th birthday.

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