Bass all-star gives us a look at upcoming projects, the many hats he wears and more
By David Sands
When talking about the contemporary bass world, it’s hard to escape mentioning Christian McBride’s name. The five-time Grammy winner is a celebrated bandleader as well as an in-demand sideman who’s worked with artists as diverse as Chick Corea, Angélique Kidjo, John Zorn, Queen Latifah and Willie Nelson.
After getting his start playing R&B on the electric bass, the Philadelphia-born virtuoso began to gravitate towards jazz music and the acoustic bass in his late teens. In 1989, he relocated to NYC to get a classical musical education at Juilliard. Not long after that, saxophonist Bobby Watson hired him to play with his ensemble, which would lead to work with Benny Golson, Roy Hargrove and and Freddie Hubbard and other veteran musicians.
As a leader, McBride’s found critical acclaim with projects like the Christian McBride band, Inside Straight quintet and Christian McBride Big Band. He’s also participated in numerous high-profile collaborations, including the bass trio Superbass with Ray Brown and and John Clayton and the jazz fusion supergroup Five Peace Band (featuring himself, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett and Vinnie Colaiuta). In addition to all that, McBride’s also a respected teacher, radio host and artistic director and advisor.
It’s been several years since we last spoke with Mr. McBride. But FBPO’s Jon Liebman recently remedied that by catching up with him at the 2017 convention of the International Society of Bassists in Ithaca, New York. As it turns out, the renowned bassist has been very busy indeed.
Here we dive into McBride’s recent projects, the electric side of his bass-playing, his long-running relationships with D’Addario Strings and David Gage String Instruments and more.
Watch our interview with Christian:
FBPO interview with Christian McBride
Christian McBride reflects on Ray Brown
Christian McBride gets lively at a legendary venue