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Jazz - Released January 1, 1995 | Verve

McBride had already made his name as an astounding bass sideman when he recorded his first album as a leader, which nailed him as another in the long line of mainstream-minded Young Lions. McBride would shed that tag within a few years when he brought forth his other interests, but for now he headed a series of three- to six-piece bands compromised mostly of somewhat older Young Lions similarly attached to tradition. They're in pretty good form, too -- the tasty Cyrus Chestnut on piano, the growing trumpeter Roy Hargrove, big-toned tenorman Joshua Redman -- and the more experienced trombonist Steve Turre and drummer Lewis Nash complete the personnel. McBride's big, rock-solid tone and melodic agility give his playing the properties of a horn -- at 22, he was a mature master -- yet his ideas as a leader were not yet as imaginative as his bass playing. One exception -- and easily the most entertaining and musical track on the CD -- is the birth on record of McBride's bass trio with mentor Ray Brown and veteran Milt Hinton in "Splanky"; you'd never guess that three unaccompanied bassists could make such sublimely enjoyable music. Another is the title track, whose funky tune and rhythm are audibly inspired by James Brown. Mostly, though, this is a promising but cautious debut. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | Verve

Christian McBride's second recording as a leader is an all-star affair, matching the young bassist in various combinations with either Kenny Garrett or Gary Bartz on alto, Chick Corea or Kenny Barron on keyboards, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, drummer Jack DeJohnette and percussionist Mino Cinelu. The music ranges from fairly straight-ahead to funky. Both Garrett and Bartz have opportunities to blow hard (pity that they were not teamed up); Chick Corea revives his "Tones for Joan's Bones," and McBride (who contributed all but four of the ten songs) overdubs his basses on Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower." Continually interesting music which contains plenty of variety. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Verve

This is a rather unusual tribute to Herbie Hancock on a couple different levels. There is no piano on the date, so obviously no one is heard trying to sound like Hancock; the intimate all-star trio (bassist Christian McBride, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and guitarist Mark Whitfield) avoids such typical Hancock hits as "Watermelon Man" and "Maiden Voyage," and several of the songs are real obscurities. The 14 Hancock compositions date from 1962-79, with one tune from 1985, so they do not cover his later output. Among the lesser-known tunes are the title track (first played by V.S.O.P.), "Sly" (from the Headhunters LP), and two melodies taken from the 1965 soundtrack of Blow-Up. Several of the songs (most notably "Driftin'") deserve to be revived more widely. Payton, whose versatility has in the past allowed him to emulate both Louis Armstrong and Freddie Hubbard with equal skill, here generally plays like himself, a Young Lion with a warm tone and an inventive style. Whitfield holds the group together, whether playing straight-ahead or adding a bit of funk to "Chameleon" and "Sly." McBride shows throughout why he is rightfully considered a young giant. Due to the many unfamiliar themes and offbeat instrumentation (which includes a duet apiece featuring each of the three possible combinations), this is a CD that takes a few listens to fully appreciate, but it is worth the effort. An underrated gem. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Verve

Hallelujah! Christian McBride is not one of those strait-laced, down-the-line neo-boppers after all. Here, the prodigiously talented young standup bassist proves that he is also an astoundingly gifted electric bassist, and that '70s-vintage funk and soul are every bit as close to his heart as '50s and '60s hard bop. On electric, McBride weaves inventive countermelodies around tenor sax Tim Warfield's lead lines, taking Jaco Pastorius' technique a step further in sheer speed and the ability to play really nasty funk patterns. The stylistic palette of the disc is much wider than anything McBride has done before as a leader, ranging from soul ballads (a lovely cover of Stevie Wonder's nearly forgotten "Summer Soft," Wonder-like vocals from Vesta on "...Or So You Thought") to powerful funk ("Brown Funk [For Ray]"), open-ended electric jazz-rock ("Wayne's World"), and yes, straight-ahead acoustic jazz grooving (on Sly Stone's "Family Affair"). Charles Craig excels on acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, and Wurlitzer electric pianos; drummer Gregory Hutchinson fearlessly handles any stylistic curve balls that McBride throws at him; and guitarist Russell Malone and percussionist Munyungo Jackson turn up now and then. As produced by fellow polystylist George Duke, this is a most encouraging step out of the trap of lockstep bop for McBride. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Verve

On a large scale, there is no denying that music can move masses of people to assert themselves and establish a particular vision that will benefit many for years to come. With the release of Sci-Fi, the highly acclaimed bassist Christian McBride has established another great realm of music for his fans to explore. Accompanied by the dynamic Ron Blake on tenor and soprano sax, Shedrick Mitchell on piano and Fender Rhodes, the great Herbie Hancock on piano, Rodney Green on drums, David Gilmore on electric and acoustic guitar, Dianne Reeves giving great vocalese on "Lullaby for a Ladybug," James Carter on bass clarinet, and the exciting Toots Thielemans on harmonica, listeners will soon discover that the jazz galaxy will never be the same. The acoustic fusion and thematic sound concept for the CD settled in after McBride wrote "Science Fiction" and discovered it made a great nucleus for the CD. Featured selections include McBride's brilliant arrangements of masterworks by Stanley Clarke, Sting, Jaco Pastorius, and Steely Dan as well as seven original compositions by the versatile leader. Flawless piano grace from Herbie Hancock on "Xerxes" and "Lullaby for a Ladybug" and McBride's Fender Rhodes work throughout is a listen to behold. Particularly, the conversation between McBride's double bass and Carter's bass clarinet on "Walking on the Moon" shouldn't be missed. Sci-Fi is a seminal work by seminal artists and may very well be considered one of the most essential jazz recordings of the 21st century. © Paula Edelstein /TiVo
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Bebop - Released January 31, 2003 | Warner Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Music Mecca

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Jazz - Released June 16, 2009 | Mack Avenue Records

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Jazz - Released November 8, 2011 | Mack Avenue Records

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Conversations with Christian is an unusual release, as it features the veteran bassist playing duets with a number of good friends. The vocal meetings include Angélique Kidjo, Sting, and Dee Dee Bridgewater (the latter with a hilarious, funky cover of the Isley Brothers' signature song "It's Your Thing"). The pairings with musicians of McBride's generation (trumpeter Roy Hargrove, tenor saxophonist Ron Blake, and guitarist Russell Malone) all exceed expectations. There are several enjoyable duets with pianists, one featuring Latin jazz master Eddie Palmieri, a duo improvised tango by Chick Corea and the leader, plus an all too rare acoustic outing by the talented George Duke (who tears up the keyboard with his hard-charging "McDukey Blues"). But McBride's meetings with Dr. Billy Taylor (playing his beautiful "Spiritual" with some potent arco playing by the bassist) and the elegant, swinging meeting with the gifted jazz master Hank Jones ("Alone Together") remain moments to savor, as they are among the final recordings by the two jazz greats, both of whom died in 2010. The last track is a funky blues just for laughs, with actress Gina Gershon joining the bassist by playing a Jew's harp, and featuring lots of comic spoken exchanges between the two. Throughout it all, Christian McBride plays with the chameleon-like adaptability of a Milt Hinton or Ray Brown. In the two-plus decades since arriving on the jazz scene, Christian McBride has demonstrated that he is a jazz master in the making, and this is easily one of his most compelling sets. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 15, 2012 | Criss Cross Jazz

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Jazz - Released May 14, 2013 | Mack Avenue Records

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Jazz - Released October 26, 2018 | Mack Avenue Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
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Jazz - Released February 7, 2020 | Mack Avenue Records

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Jazz - Released April 30, 2021 | Mack Avenue Records

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To attract an audience for a jazz record these days, it helps to begin with a big idea—a tribute to one (or several!) legends, a conceptual work exploring a thematic narrative, anything that can translate into talking points or (better still) marketing. The loquacious and ubiquitous bassist Christian McBride, whose resume includes longtime musically consequential associations with Chick Corea and others, has navigated these somewhat arbitrary requirements expertly in recent years. A scan of McBride's discography turns up deftly executed trio records (both in studio and live at the Village Vanguard), collections of mostly original post bop (Kind of Brown, from 2009), hard-swinging big band outings (2020's For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver, which earns double points as a three-way tribute) and a long-form work memorializing key figures and moments in African American history and the struggle for civil rights (The Movement Revisited, also from 2020). Underrepresented, slightly: something low stakes. Casual. A good old fashioned blowing session that follows an interesting constellation of talents as they go exploring. McBride's done plenty of these, and his approach to swing rhythm makes him ideal for them. This crisp EP, commissioned by Qobuz, argues that maybe there's room for more of this in his mix of projects. The "big idea" is communicated via the very first notes—a deep, deliberate bassline that walks into the relaxed confines of "Blues Connotation." It's just a few measures of an easygoing yet businesslike pulse, and all McBride needs to establish the mission: He's looking for expansive musical conversation, not perfection, and he underscores this by leaving the groove-minded drummer Eric Harland lots of room to maneuver. Guitarist Mike Stern taps into the loose atmosphere right away, crafting a solo that weaves gorgeous textural chords into single-note lines that serve acrobatically away from hard bop convention. Saxophonist Marcus Strickland does much the same, organizing his ideas into dense clusters and then arranging those into a fire-breathing peak, the kind you'd hear in the heated waning moments of a late club set. That's followed by the standard "On Green Dolphin Street," which has been subject to countless overwrought arrangements on hundreds of records. Again McBride creates a foundation that just plain feels good—thanks to the Hi-Res recording, it's possible to zone in on the steady, carefully articulated recurring notes that he uses to anchor the melody and each of the solos. Naturally that includes McBride's own dexterous and marvelously inventive improvisation, which adapts Ray Brown's still-headspinning bass techniques for the modern era. McBride's original "Brouhaha" closes the set. It was written shortly after Corea's passing, and manages the unusual trick of incorporating elements from several different realms of the pianist's work. The demanding theme, set to a syncopated post-funk rhythm, evokes the best of Corea's Elektric Band, while the open, conversational exchanges suggest the collaborative spirit of the later Corea acoustic trio, which featured McBride and Brian Blade. It's an intricate piece, and at first it sounds like another exercise in high-concept record making. Then the musicians start to stretch, and spar with each other, and suddenly it's a blowing session again. © Tom Moon/Qobuz