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Concert Review: Mack Avenue SuperBand in Wisconsin

Endless possibilities from Christian McBride, Gary Burton and the rest

Sean Jones
Tia Fuller
Christian Sands, Savannah Music Festival 2014
Gary Burton
Mack Avenue SuperBand 2016: Christian Sands, Gary Burton, Christian McBride, Sean Jones, Tia Fuller and Carl Allen

The Mack Avenue SuperBand features bassist Christian McBride and his own trio members, Carl Allen on drums and pianist Christian Sands, augmented by Tia Fuller’s saxophones and the trumpet of Sean Jones. Add the virtuosity of vibraphone player Gary Burton, and one quickly understands why the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield, Wisconsin, was full on Feb. 13, even in the midst of uninviting weather conditions. That word “superband” is no hyperbole-the possibilities are exciting.

These six musicians, who initially connected because of their mutual association with Mack Avenue Records, have become a working ensemble (although the personnel has been somewhat fluid since its inception-previous members include Rodney Whitaker and Kirk Whalum). McBride is acting as group leader for this go-round and Burton was the best known figure on stage, but this sextet performed comfortably as a group, with every member given numerous opportunities to shine. Each player had an original composition performed, and solos were distributed evenly during both sets.

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