Thursday Jazz: Christian McBride

Words & Interview By Zach Zeidner

Live At Tonic

Christian McBride’s Live At Tonic is a three disc exploration of non-traditional styles of jam and improvisation unfamiliar to McBride’s status as a choice upright bassist for many Jazz greats. The album comes from a live performance recorded at Tonic in New York City on January 10 and 11, 2005. Christian McBride with his band; including Geoffrey Keezer on keys, Terron Gully on drums, and Ron Blake on woodwinds, explore the realms of rock/funk fusion. The first disc is full of original pieces that demonstrate McBride unbelievable ability to not only lead a group, but explore the spacial range of the upright bass as a lead instrument in a fusion group. There also includes a cover by Weather Report, “Boogie Woogie Waltz”, that demonstrates McBride mastery of the electric bass and Jaco lines.

Disc two is full of cyclical funk grooves that allow a spacial driving soundscape for various solos to accompany. The “See Jam, Hear Jam, Feel Jam” is a 30 minute jam that consists of many sit ins by various jazz and jam musicians including: Charlie Hunter, Jason Moran, Jenny Scheinman, DJ Logic, Scratch (from the Roots), Eric Krasno, and Rashsawn Ross. This explorative jam then leads into the rest of the album that is full of spaced out avante garde jams that are full of lavish improvisations by the various musicians McBride has sitting in with him. They cover intense versions of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew and the Herbie Hancock inspired Mwandishi Outcome Jam.

Disc three completes the album with four extended jams that will do nothing but leave you bewildered, aurally satisfied, and begging for some more McBride. McBride’s ability to explore various styles of fusions, demonstrates why he is held to the outstanding regard he is held to as a contemporary bassist. Check this album out and I assure disappointment will not be an issue.

Purchase Live At Tonic Here


Technicolor Nightmare

Sonic Tonic



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