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Jazz - Verschenen op 25 september 2020 | Mack Avenue Records

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Christian McBride's latest big band session travels back to an incredible moment in 1966 when organist Jimmy Smith, guitarist Wes Montgomery and arranger Oliver Nelson gathered at Rudy Van Gelder's studio for a hard-swinging and ever-so-slightly unconventional big band summit meeting; all were operating at peak creativity. It was the first-ever collaboration between Smith and Montgomery, and the resulting albums (The Dynamic Duo and The Further Adventures Of…) were bursting with feats of highwire soloistic daredevilry. Nelson was the stealth MVP of the date. His arrangements—particularly "Down By The Riverside" and "Milestones"—discovered a lane equidistant between the hard swing of Basie and the floral voicings of Ellington, with intricate full-ensemble taunts giving way to plush pads designed to provoke the soloists. McBride's update uses those and other original Nelson charts, which, after all these decades, exude a freshness that eludes many large-ensemble projects. And it relies on a similarly sparky showdown between strong minded soloists—the organist Joey DeFrancesco and guitarist Mark Whitfield. Both clearly know they're working in the towering shadows of giants; neither seems daunted by that as they explore the hairpin turns of the big-band "Milestones" or the easygoing saunter of Montgomery's "Road Song." There are a few astonishing small-group moments, too, that offer a quick gauge on how far these soloists have evolved— check Whitfield on "Road Song," DeFrancesco's gentle and dramatic reading of the ballad "I Want To Talk About You" and McBride's capricious twenty-fingered trip through "Up Jumped Spring"). One elusive element McBride managed to transfer from the original source: The swing feel. From the opening solo, a twisty-road Whitfield foray on "Night Train," it's clear that the soloists thrive in the McBride sweet spot—everything they do, all the flashy blowing, flows directly from the crisp, uncomplicated grooves established by the bassist and his rhythm section. Big band music would be easier to love if it all felt this good. © Tom Moon/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 22 september 2017 | Mack Avenue Records

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Bass player Christian McBride regularly sets his big gleaming band in motion. This time for a second album, Bringin’ It, following the brilliant The Good Feeling released in 2011. An enchanting break for the musician, whose name is featured on over 300 albums. A configuration that the best bass players in jazz history – Charles Mingus, Charlie Haden, Jaco Pastorius, William Parker, Ron Carter, etc. – have always favoured, and that lets McBride shine as a leader, but also as an arranger. But even more so, he falls in the tradition of the great ensembles led by Oliver Nelson, Benny Golson, Duke Ellington, and Billy Strayhorn, over even Maria Schneider. And let’s not forget (in a reduced format), the Art Blakey’s Jazz Messenger, a major influence as well. The strength of Bringin’ It is to incorporate this entire big-band heritage, handpicking the past to reach a rather personal partition dominated by colours. In order to reach this rhythmically staggering rainbow, Christian McBride surrounded himself with true virtuosos whose main attribute is to be receptive to others around them. © MD/Qobuz
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Jazz - Verschenen op 27 september 2011 | Mack Avenue Records

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