Christian McBride continues to elevate the bar for the modern bass player.
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz
International Release: July 22, 2013 / U.S. Street Date: Aug. 6, 2013
For McBride's fifth outing on Mack Avenue we are treated to a stellar trio recording that embraces the old school sound of a Ray Brown brought current with the help of two rising stars in pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. Swing hard or go home could be an alternate title for Out Here as McBride goes for the old school foundation on a new school riff of swingin' blues and the Great American Songbook. Sands is a brilliant young pianist with the ability to shift dynamics on the fly while Owens, Jr. is a lyrical drummer with finesse that players twenty years his senior are still searching for.
The musical irony here is that McBride picked up a Grammy (his third) for the big band recording The Good Feeling. McBride made the well publicized statement that he never thought he would be leading a big band on such an auspicious debut effort for a large ensemble. Now we find McBride making the same statement in regards to leading this formidable trio. Can lighting strike twice in the same place. Contrary to some beliefs, it can and under the leadership of McBride that may well be where the smart money goes.
The tunes here fit together like pieces of a sonic jigsaw puzzle. The Oscar Peterson tune " Hallelujah Time" is a praise tune kicked up a notch with solo contributions from McBride on bow and the young Sands trading eights with Owens, Jr. before playing out with flair and precision as seems to be the wheelhouse for this amazing trio. The Ahmad Jamal trio arrangement of "Cherokee" is again kicked up a notch as the ensemble shift dynamics on the fly from the alternating waltz tempo pulled off with a panache not seen since the glory days of bebop. Aside from the usually cast of characters that make their compositional appearance on a recording such as this we find "My Favorite Things" banged out in 5/4 thus giving a more open ended approach to a time honored classic.
Most trios consist of a leader with two after thoughts. Christian McBride brings together two of the fastest rising stars in modern jazz with the end result as a harmonious union of one artistic train of thought. A stellar recording.
Tracks: Ham Hocks And Cabbage; Hallelujah Time; I Guess I'll Have To Forget; Easy Walker; My Favorite Things; East Of The Sun; Cherokee; I Have Dreamed; Who's Making Love.
Personnel: Christian McBride: bass; Christian Sands: piano; Ulysses Owens, Jr.: drums.