Christian Mcbride with Maria Schneider

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Tbeers, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I got a chance to see Maria Schneider's band with Christian Mcbride on the 24th, at this little hole-in-the-wall place called the Mahaiwe Center in Great Barrington, MA.

    I was shocked when I first came here, because everyone is always talking about other bassists and how great they are, but mention of Christian is scarce. He is unbelievable! His soloing is effortless, ebbing from tasteful/minimalist lines to shameless displays of chops. And his time is practically flawless.

    At the Mahaiwe he was sending an AMT mic to the PA and had a realist pickup going into a tiny Eden head, finally into a Bag End 1x12 cabinet. He was doubling a bit, but I'm not sure what he did for the electric. Maybe he had a DI box. His sound was superb, very full.

    Obviously Maria Schneider's compositions are unbelievable, and her band is great. They have this crazy bari player, Scott Robinson, who had instruments there I've never seen before (for instance a clarinet so big he had to mount it and stand to play it). Anyway, Mcbride definitely has the goods. His playing doesn't get discussed too much as far as I can tell, which is odd....
  2. TomSauter


    Dec 22, 2004
    Kennesaw, GA
    Yeah......I too find it odd that Christian is not discussed much on this forum. Like you said, he's an unbelievable player--always swings, great sound, chops, knows tons of music, great ears, great solos, etc. Maybe it's so obvious that he's awesome that people don't feel the need to talk about him.
    If you look in the noob thread under 'bassists' you'll see that there is one thread dedicated to Paul Chambers and one to Ron Carter. The PC thread is all about his bad intonation and wrong notes on So What, and the Ron Carter thread has a whopping 9 posts, most of which are about Billy Cobham. Hopefully we can get some McBride worship started here.
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Tom, I think you nailed it. It's almost like saying "wow, air is really great, I love breathing it". I mean, the guy's so great, he's almost above discussing. It's just a given.
  4. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    I agree with you guys. Christian is one of the real masters of jazz bass on the scene today. Not only is he an amazing pizz soloist, but his arco technique is equally impressive. He is rooted in the jazz tradition and swings harder than many guys on the scene today. His first solo album, "Gettin' To It" is great, and his trio work with Benny Green is also impressive. All jazz bassists should be hip to Christian...
  5. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I'll tell you, to this day one of my favorite and most listened-to CDs is the first "Superbass" recording with Mcbride, Clayton, and Ray Brown. It's just one of those rare records that captures everything wonderful about jazz double bass. Everyone should have a copy of it, it sells cheap nowadays. Every musician on it is top notch -- there is some ridiculous playing by Gregory Hutchinson on drums and Benny Green on piano.

    (The second Superbass album has some good stuff on it too, but I much prefer the first)
  6. jsbarber

    jsbarber Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    I saw Christian McBride the night before last with the Pat Metheny Trio. I think I would say he is my favorite upright player at this time. He does it all: GREAT rhytmic feel; extremely technically competent; outstanding melodic solos; fabulous arco playing. He is one soulful dude.

    When I picked up his "Family Affair" album and heard "I'll Write a Song for You" (an old EW&F tune) I was blown away. The original is so amazing with Phillip Bailey's vocals, you just say to yourself "I hope I never hear anyone else try to do this song because it will be very disappointing." Then McBRide nails it. On what? - a double bass playing arco. Amazing.
  7. Yea McBride is my boy. If you haven't seen it you should check out the Chick Corea and Friends DVD. He does some wonderful playing on it. But his newest c.d., Vertical Vision, is killer! Check out Terreon Gully, fabulous drummer. I think what I enjoy most though about his playing is that as much as he stretches the bass playing envelope he still very much keeps the bass playing tradition alive.
  8. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    John Clayton also produced a double-cd of Ray Browns later music called "Walk On" which is fantastic. On it, there are a couple of alternate takes of some tunes they (RB, CMB, and JC) were doing for the Superbass album. Although the songs are same, the takes are different, and actually better than the ones on Superbass IMO. McBride sounds amazing on them too.
  9. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Yeah that's probably a bass clarinet.
  10. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    The first time I saw Christian McBride was with Roy Haynes on the "Birds of a Feather" tour. They played Parker tunes. I swore that night never to misuse the word "virtuoso" again, now that I knew what it meant.

    The second time was on the Superbass tour which was beyond words not only because of him, but John Clayton and of course, Ray Brown.

    The 3rd time was with the Christian McBride band. They played fusion and I didn't connect with it at all. I'm not a fan of the genre, but also I couldn't spot the virtuosity through the arco solos with a Wah Wah pedal. Geoff Keaser walked into Jazz Alley and closed the lid on that Steinway so that he could put his synth on it. Furthermore, between songs, Christian kind of blasted the jazz media for their critisism of his new album and came off and very defensive and petty.

    I have him on several records and I have to say that when he plays straight ahead, I agree that there no one truely better. I just don't always like what he plays. I don't critize his choice, I think he should play whatever he wants, but I will pass up opportunites to see him unless I have a good feel for he's going to be doing.

    That MIGHT be one of the reasons you don't hear more about him from bassist. He's moved into some areas that not everyone can follow.

  11. Leco reis

    Leco reis

    Sep 2, 2004
    Astoria, NY
    Christian McBride is great, a genius musician.
    And he can play piano like a master too.
    I think people not talking about him is the result of over exposure that the jazz media put on him many years ago.
    just like in Pop ,rock,any art business sell,sell,sell
    I think they over used his image beeing the "young Lions"
    Christian McBride, Roy hargroove,Antonio hart and others.

    I think he is still trying break out of that image of the next Ray Brown.
  12. jsbarber

    jsbarber Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    Just checked out his site (CMB), and he's going to be back in town in two weeks doing some kind of Ray Brown tribute. So I get to see him twice in one month...

  13. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    McBride has the kind of chops that only come along once in a very long while--I really can't comprehend how he does what he does, but it is indeed impressive. And he has a great feel, swings hard, grooves his butt off, and has a complete grasp of jazz history. What more could you ask for? But I find myself rarely listening to him because most of the recordings I've heard are of the derivative, new-feet-in-old-shoes kind--after having purchased many of his albums, I'm not certain that I really want to hear ANYONE doing a Charlie Parker tribute, a Herbie Hancock cover album, a 70's fusion homage, or a Ray Brown impersonation: I will listen to Bird, Herbie, Weather Report (and Steely Dan...), and Ray Brown for that. I want to hear a musician making their own statement, even if as a fellow-bassist I can appreciate something simply (simply!) for its technical achievement.
    This isn't to dis McBride--should I ever have an ounce of his skill on the bass, I would be very happy. And when I hear him as a sideman, he is superlative (I'm thinking mostly of stuff with Roy Haynes live and Joe Henderson and Jimmy Smith on record). But I feel like I'm actually hearing a bassist's spirit expressed through creative music when I listen to players like Drew Gress, Scott Colley, Michael Formanek, and Larry Grenadier (to mention some players of the same general generation); I don't get this when I listen to Christian McBride. (Which is why I was amazed at the original post that said he was playing with Maria Schneider. I guess the line between the neo-classic Young Lions and the underappreciated makers of creative music is blurrier than I had thought--and that's a very good thing to see).
  14. That sums it up. Several years ago, I thought of him as a neotraditionalist who also had a little funk and soul background. Then I saw him live playing Steely Dan tunes, and ripping through Jaco's Havona on DB :eek:. Some time later, he's playing with Sting, and now Maria Schneider. Anyone who's halfway paying attention must realize the kind of deep musicianship it takes to excel with that kind of versatility.
  15. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    I attended a clinic with him at Gages a few years back. The very first thing he did was to relate a story about an unmentionable trumpet player who gave him his start and insisted on no pick up and painful action. Christian said something to the effect of that is the last time he would let a neocon (or anyone) dictate anything about how he plays. He then proceeded to show us some mysterious bebop #$%@ that I still don't know how he does(but it was totally effortless). He takes arco solos and barely moves the bow. Scratchy as all hell but deep as the ocean.
    He has such deep hearing and processing power, he just seems to know ahead of time where everything is going to end up and he sets it up as though he were the archetect. One deep cat.
    Its all in his ears, its all there, you can tell when cats have the whole of the musical game right there in their ears as though there is no mystery to it.
  16. Well that would almost make sense cus if it's the trumpet player I'm thinkin of, where he teaches they don't use amps. And the bass player I just recently saw him with didn't use an amp or mic. I think it's crazy but that's just me. McBride's bop stuff is amazing though rhythmcally and harmonically! Just an all around amazing player. He is actually playing here today with the Pat Metheny Trio.
  17. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    I just got my tickets for a Christian McBride Tribute to Ray Brown concert here in the San Diego area next month. After reading these posts, really looking forward to this concert.
  18. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    No, it wasn't a bass clarinet. Those are played sitting. It was much larger and had a lower range.
  19. It was probably a contrabass clarinet, one octave below the regular bass clarinet:


    The site I got this picture from,, is quite amusing, BTW.