88.9 FM WDNA PUBLIC RADIO > Programmers > Christian McBride
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His father, Lee Smith, and his great uncle, Howard Cooper, are well known Philadelphia bassists who served as McBride's early mentors.
He has performed and recorded with a number of jazz legends and ensembles, including Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Brad Mehldau, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Joe Henderson, Diana Krall, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Wynton Marsalis,Hank Jones, Michael Dease, Lewis Nash, Joshua Redman, and Ray Brown's "Superbass" with John Clayton, as well as with pop, hip-hop. soul, and pop musicians like Sting, Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Isaac Hayes, The Roots, Queen Latifah, Kathleen Battle,Renee Fleming, Carly Simon, Bruce Hornsby, and James Brown.
McBride was heralded as a teen prodigy having joined saxophonist Bobby Watson's group at age 17. From age 17 to 22, he played in the bands of older legends such as Watson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Milt Jackson, J.J. Johnson and Hank Jones as well as his peers such as Roy Hargrove, Benny Green and Joshua Redman. In 1996, jazz bass legend Ray Brown formed a group called "SuperBass" built around McBride and fellow Brown protege', John Clayton. The group released two CD's: "SuperBass: Live at Scullers" (1997) and "SuperBass 2: Live at the Blue Note" (2001).
McBride was a member of Joshua Redman's Quartet in the 1990s with pianist Brad Mehldau and drummer Brian Blade. He began leading his own groups in 1995 after his debut CDGettin' To It (Verve Records) was released. Saxophonist Tim Warfield, pianists Charles Craig and Joey Calderazzo, and drummers Carl Allen and Greg Hutchinson are a few of the musicians who played in McBride's early groups. From 2000 to 2008, McBride fronted his own acoustic / electric, jazz, fusion and funk ensemble, "The Christian McBride Band" with saxophonist Ron Blake, pianist/keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer and drummer Terreon Gully. As writer Alan Leeds stated in 2003, it was "one of the most intoxicating, least predictable bands on the scene..." The band released two CD's - Vertical Vision (Warner Brothers Records | 2003) and their Live at Tonic three-CD set was released in 2006.
McBride primarily plays upright bass, but is equally adept on the electric bass. He played bass for the collaborative project, "The Philadelphia Experiment." The Philadelphia Experiment included keyboardist Uri Caine and hip-hop drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson. Other projects have included tours and recordings with the Pat Metheny Trio, theBruce Hornsby Trio, and Queen Latifah. Like Paul Chambers, McBride can solo by playing his bass arco style.
In 2006, McBride was named to the position of "Creative Chair for Jazz" with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, taking over from Dianne Reeves. He was initially signed to a two-year contract that was subsequently renewed for an additional two years. He was eventually succeeded by Herbie Hancock in 2010.
McBride performed with Sonny Rollins and Roy Haynes at Carnegie Hall on September 18, 2007, in commemoration of Rollins' 50th anniversary of his first performance there.McBride was also tapped by CBS to be a producer for the tribute to Rollins on the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors broadcast.
In 2008, McBride joined John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett and Vinnie Colaiuta in a jazz fusion supergroup called the Five Peace Band. They released a CD in February 2009 and completed their world tour in May of that year, as Brian Blade took over for Vinnie Colaiuta as drummer in Asia and some US concerts. The CD "Five Peace Band Live" won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group
As of 2013, McBride currently leads four groups - "Inside Straight" featuring alto/soprano saxophonist Steve Wilson, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, pianist Peter Martin and drummer Carl Allen; a trio featuring pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr., his 18-piece big band, and an experimental group called "A Christian McBride Situation" with pianist/keyboardist Patrice Rushen, turntablists DJ Logic and Jahi Sundance, saxophonist Ron Blake and vocalist Alyson Williams.