With cigar in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other, bassist Christian McBride struck an easy, affable pose onstage at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in the first of his “Conversations With Christian,” a series of onstage dialogues and musical encounters to be broadcast on the Sirius/XM satellite radio network. To kick off the series, which was taped before a live audience at Dizzy’s, the Philadelphia native featured Chick Corea as his special guest. Currently bandmates in the Five Peace Band, an all-star quintet featuring guitar legend John McLaughlin, alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (with Brian Blade filling in on some dates in an upcoming tour of the States), McBride and Corea also played together in the pianist’s Remembering Bud Powell band from the late ’90s. So their natural rapport was evident in both the interview and musical segments of the evening.
McBride described his role in “Conversations With Christian,” which hops easily from talk about music to talk about sports, as a cross between Bill Cosby, Howard Cosell and Marian McPartland (a reference to her celebrated public radio show, Piano Jazz). An avid Eagles and Phillies fan, McBride equated his role on the bandstand to that of an offensive lineman in football. “All the attention in football is on the quarterback and the running backs and the wide receivers. Nobody knows the names of the offensive linemen. It’s the same for bass players. We’re in the background and our job is to ‘block’ for the sax players and trumpeters upfront.”