Christian McBride: Tackling Two Sides Of Jazz At Once | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Christian McBride: Tackling Two Sides Of Jazz At Once

Play associated audio

In jazz, to be a bassist usually means playing in someone else's band. The bassist-as-bandleader is a fairly rare thing, with the torch being passed over the years from Charles Mingus to Ron Carter ... and now to Philadelphia-born Christian McBride.

Not yet 40, McBride has become one of the most prolific performers in jazz. He's just released two new albums, each representing completely different takes on the form. For those who prefer that intimate, smoke-filled-club sound, there's the spare Conversations with Christian, which features duets with the likes of Chick Corea, Sting and the late Dr. Billy Taylor. For those who like big-band swing, there's the splashier The Good Feeling.

McBride had an abrupt introduction to writing and arranging for big bands back in 1995, when Wynton Marsalis commissioned an orchestral piece for a Jazz at Lincoln Center performance. Before then, he'd never written for any group larger than a sextet.
"I was always curious, but I was always scared to stick my foot in the water," McBride says. "Wynton didn't give me any direction. We just said, 'Write something about New York. It can be whatever you want it to be — swinging, or a ballad, or whatever you want — just make sure it's about New York."

Christian McBride speaks with weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz about that encounter and others with Marsalis, and explains how he decided to put out two wildly different albums back to back.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Key Civil War Generals The Subject Of New Smithsonian Exhibit

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery focuses on Civil War generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.
NPR

Is Foster Farms A Food Safety Pioneer Or A Persistent Offender?

The California chicken producer has been dogged by food safety problems at its plants for months. But Foster Farms may also now be one of the country's cleanest, safest sources of chicken products.
NPR

Congress Has The Ability To Fix Immigration Crisis, Obama Says

His remarks in Dallas followed a meeting with faith leaders and local officials, including Gov. Rick Perry, to discuss the large number of unaccompanied minors at the border.
NPR

What Burritos And Sandwiches Can Teach Us About Innovation

Is a burrito a sandwich? The answer may sound simple to you ... but the question gets at the very heart of a tension that's existed for ages.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.