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Christian McBride: Before and After

Bassist gets a high score on an underrated era

Christian McBride performing with Chick Corea's Freedom Band at CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival 2010

For this special edition of Before & After celebrating the 40th anniversary of JazzTimes, bassist-composer-bandleader Christian McBride listened to tunes either recorded or released in 1970. Of course, the Philadelphia native wasn’t born until May 31, 1972, but being an astute listener and something of a musical historian, he has encyclopedic knowledge of music from earlier eras … and not just jazz.

Since emerging as a 17-year-old prodigy, the Juilliard-trained McBride has become a highly respected figure on the scene, both as a ubiquitous sideman (he’s recorded on more than 270 sessions to date) and as a leader (with nine CDs to his credit). In 2008, McBride signed with the Detroit-based Mack Avenue label, debuting the following year with Kind of Brown by his Inside Straight quintet. In 2008 and 2009 he also toured with the Five Peace Band featuring Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Kenny Garrett and Vinnie Colaiuta (with Brian Blade subbing on some Stateside dates and throughout an Asian tour). The group’s 2009 release, Five Peace Band Live, earned a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

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