Thursday, September 29, 2011

Christian McBride Big Band: The Good Feeling

A dream comes true ..!
Christian McBride releases his first big band album
Hans Koert

Jazz musicians, both traditional as modern style orientated, dream about having their own band and seize the opportunity to make an album under their own name ..... A lot of jazz musicians succeed in doing so. But what if this dream has come true? What else leaves to be desired? One of the ultimate goals for a jazz musician seem to be playing as a soloist in a big band setting, or, even better, having your own big band, that plays your music, your arrangements, your compositions ....... Big Bands were extreme popular during the swing period ( 1930s and 1940s), but in the post war period, most big bands lingered on and most of them had to stop, because of financial reasons and, due to the popularity of other music styles, the popularity of it, declined. During the 1950s and 1960s musicians loved to be recorded ...... with strings, and attempt, it seemed, to be taken more seriously by their supporters. In 2000 Roy Hargrove, one of the 1990s promising artists, the so-called Young Lions, got his own ....... with Strings ( Moment to Moment)(Verve 543 540) and two years ago he released his own big band album Emergence ( Emarcy 0602527079240). Recently Christian McBride, the sought after double bass player, also one of the Young Lions of the 1990s, released his own debut big band album; a dream came true. ( Christian McBride Big Band - The Good Feeling) - ......... no strings !! Christian McBride ( photo courtesy: Anne Webber)
Christian McBride was born in Philadelphia May 1972 in a musical family. His father was a session-player on bass in R&B groups and Howard Cooper, his great-uncle, played the upside bass with Sunny Murray and the groups of Elliot Levin and Tyrone Hill. At eight Christian studied the electric bass and he remembers that he learned the bass lines from songs by listening to the radio or records: I would just turn on the radio or get a record that I liked, and just listen to it, and wear the record out until I learned the bass line that was on the record. ( source: Interview by Richard Bains(January, 1997)). His father taught him his first song: Papa Was a Rolling Stone, a top hit composed by Barrett Strong. At High School he had his first R&B gigs on the electric bass, before he bought his first double bass. He became into jazz thanks to his class mate
Joey DeFrancesco, who developed into a great Hammond player and introduced him to jazz. But, in fact, Wynton Marsalis was the one who really made him decide to play jazz: The first time I met Wynton and being around him and seeing his level of seriousness in everything that he does, ... that did something to me. I remember I listened to all of his albums when I was in high school ..... and then he invited me to sit in with his band. Wynton's group came to Philadelphia - I was in my tenth grade. He pointed guys like Nicholas Payton, Roy Hargrove and James Carter in the right direction. He had a big part to do with our development. (source: Interview by Richard Bains (January, 1997))
Christian McBride Big Band - The Good Feeling
Christian studied classic bass at Philadelphia’s High School for the Performing Arts before he attended the Juilliard School of Music in Manhattan. As a bass player he started his career with great names like Benny Green, Josua Redman, Freddie Hubbard ( ... probably one of my greatest honours to play in Hubbards band ), Bobby Watson, Betty Carter and Wynton Marsalis. He can be heard in Roy Hargrove’s first band, recorded as the Jazz Futures. In one of Roy Hargrove's first albums, entitled Public Eyes, he is labelled as .. one of the most universally respected young players on the scene. He can do things already on the bass, Tom Piazza says in the liner notes, that very few can. ... McBride is a giant in the making.
Christian McBride (photo courtesy: Anne Webber)
Bassist are part of the rhythm section and play a very important role in creating a solid base and as timekeeper of the band. But few bass players come to the fore and start their own group. Christian McBride made his first album under his own name in 1994, entitled Gettin' To It, which belongs with Number Two Express (1996) to my favourites. With his Big Band album The Good Feeling a dream comes true. Christian wrote one of his first compositions for big band in the mid 1990s, a tune entitled Bluesin' in Alphabet City, which originally debuted by Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz At Lincoln Centre Orchestra and now the one but last track on his own big band album. Since that first composition, Christian continued to compose and arrange tunes for larger ensembles and now, more then 15 years later, his first big band album has been released. The album contains almost a dozen tracks, half standards, like Broadway and I Should Care and McBride's own compositions, like Brother Mister ( was previous released on Kind of Brown); The Shade of the Cedar Tree and In a Hurry, both previous released as a sextet in
Gettin' To It
The opener is the tune Shake'n Blake - a great energetic song.
Christian McBride (photo courtesy: Anne Webber)
The band features some great musicians and I love to mention trumpet player Nicholas Payton and Freddie Hendrix, a less known trumpet player in Europe, but a sought after msucian who performed with Rufus Reid, the Illinois Jacquet band and with
Charles McPherson. Steve Davis can be heard on on trombone and Ron Blake can be found in the reed section. When I Fall In Love opens with a bowed intro by Christian McBride to be followed by a sensitive vocal by Melissa, a personal friend of Christian; she can be heard on two more tracks: The More I See You and A Taste of Honey. The tune that I liked most is the final one, In A Hurry, an uptempo theme, as the title suggests, which opens Christian McBride’s first album under his own name, Gettin' To It. A great tune, well arranged, with Christian at his best on a bowed solo. That's how I like it!
Enjoy and be surprised by this small promo talk I found on the web ...........

Hans Koert

During the 1950s it seemed to have been a real obsession for jazz musicians to make a recording ... with strings. Now a days, strings are made in a digital way, settled jazz musicians seem to dream about making their own big band recording ... with their own compositions or arrangements: expensive projects. Roy Hargrove did two years ago and this month Christian McBride releases his first Big Band album, entitled The Good Feeling. McBride's big Band debut on the Mack Avenue label has become a valuable and a must-have and, for your information, no audible strings at all ( except Christian's excellent double bass of course. Keep Swinging loves to point you to this kind of special albums. If you don't want to miss it, follow it at Twitter ( #keepswinging) or ask for its free newsletter, available in Dutch and English. (
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Anonymous said...

I always love listening his first big band album. Jazz is one of my favorite music in relieving any stress from work. It is kind of music that soothes and relax me whenever I hear it playing. :D

3:40 PM  

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