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REDD-MAC-1516xChristian McBride Big Band
Bringin' ItIconic bassist Christian McBride has been doing what the title of his upcoming big band album implores for years: Bringin' It. This highly anticipated release, which follows the Christian McBride Big Band's 2011 Grammy® Award-winning debut, The Good Feeling, puts his status and skills as an all-around entertainer on full display. With a list of growing accolades including his recent appointment as Artistic Director at the Newport Jazz Festival, hosting shows on SiriusXM ("The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian") and NPR ("Jazz Night in America," as well as frequent online contributions to various programs including "All Things Considered"), speaking engagements, and occasional DJ performances under the alias DJ Brother Mister, he's more than just a bandleader: Christian McBride is transcending that title to something more complete.
If it is true that jazz is a sponge for musicians to absorb and then squeeze out what they hear to produce their own sound, McBride has been "bringin' it" for quite a long time. From his amazing quintet, Inside Straight, to his avant-garde leaning quartet, New Jawn, the contemporary sound of his fusion group, A Christian McBride Situation, to the critically acclaimed music he's made with his trio, the bassist has always disseminated his own unique 360-degree view of jazz.
While the music played by the Christian McBride Big Band is on the cutting edge of 21st century large ensemble music, the orchestra's presentation, like its sound, respects the past while looking forward. Danny Ray, the legendary stage announcer for James Brown, travels with the group to give the leader an old-school intro before playing his thoroughly modern music. "I love having the show aspect of it as well, with Danny Ray there, and being able to create somewhat of a show while also having Melissa there as our vocalist."
That would be Melissa Walker, who graces Bringin' It on two tracks: "Upside Down," originally done by Brazilian superstar Djavan, and the unlikely slick arrangement of "Mr. Bojangles." In addition to maintaining a career in jazz, Walker is also the co-founder of Jazz House Kids, the award winning jazz education center and she's Mrs. Christian McBride.
Only two tracks on this 11-song set were not arranged by the leader: the "Upside Down" arrangement was contributed by Norman Simmons, while "Optimism" is from the person he's known the longest in his band, trombonist Steve Davis. Davis has the distinction of being the very last Jazz Messenger that Art Blakey hired before he died in 1990.
"I saw that last Jazz Messengers band that Steve was in," McBride remembers. "Blakey was a huge influence on me and because of that, Steve and I share the same compositional and arranging DNA. You see, even though I've been influenced by every great big band and every great arranger I've ever heard, three of my greatest influences - not just as composers but also as improvisers - are Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter and Cedar Walton. I mean before, after and during the period when they were with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers."
McBride played bass for Freddie Hubbard's quintet for nearly three years starting when he was 18. One of the songs he loved to play with the legendary trumpeter was "Thermo." A few years ago he brought this arrangement to a gig with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. When the four trumpeters had to work hard to go over the riffs in the tune, McBride felt a certain pride. "I just thought that Freddie was somewhere up in heaven laughing," says McBride.
Perennial poll-topping arranger Maria Schneider has also been an influence on McBride. He cites times when he'd just bug her for hours, peppering her with questions, particularly on a recent trip to Europe. He honors her with his rendition of "I Thought About You." "She has an arrangement of 'Giant Steps' where she arranged the melody over a D pedal so I said let me try something like that," McBride recounts. "That's where that came from. She really gave me a lot of information and has been a great influence on me."
Another aspect that has helped the bassist find his voice as an arranger is the fact that, except for drummer Quincy Phillips, this is the exact same band that recorded with him six years ago. "These guys know my sound. They know my style. They know what my compositional and arranging DNA is. I've been able to keep the exact same unit, so like Duke Ellington used to do, I can write for my guys because I know their sound and style.
"As for my originals, they all have been recorded with my small groups," he continues on about the tracks "Gettin' To It," "Youthful Bliss," and "Used'ta Could." "As an arranger I'm still in the early stages of my development so it seems to me the best way to really make my hopeful ascension into a better arranger is to obviously take a song I've already written and try to add to that and make it a worthy large ensemble song."
While the Wes Montgomery smoker "Full House" isn't a McBride original, it is part of his development as an arranger - it's a big band chart he first created for guitarist Russell Malone at Jazz Aspen in 2009. He says he's tweaked it since then for his go-to guitarist Rodney Jones. For the McCoy Tyner classic "Sahara," the bassist channeled his 20+ years of playing with the legendary Chick Corea, for which McBride won two of his five Grammys. Another one of his Grammys came from a co-op project with Tyner. "I always thought of Chick, in his early years, as being a branch from the tree of McCoy Tyner, if you will," he commented.
McBride's work ethic is evident in the challenge he set for himself on the steamy old ballad "In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning." "I decided to torture myself by writing that arrangement in the key of B. To me that's a very pretty key, but it is a very hard key for a double bass because I get to play no open strings," McBride explains. "When I play it live, every bass player in the house comes to me and says, 'is that in B? Why do you do that?' Maybe it's because I'm crazy, but I really wanted to do something difficult and keep myself on my toes."
Planning to keep this group simmering while he simultaneously resurrects his Inside Straight band and introduces his new trio, Tip City, McBride is most excited to embrace the golden age of big bands while they continue bringin' it with more gigs and their first European tour. "With my big band I try to combine all of my journeys and goals as a musician and then try to put it in a wrapper of show business," the five-time Grammy® Award-winner comments. "I really think in that sense I'm following something of a big band tradition."1. Gettin' To It
3. Youthful Bliss
4. I Thought About You
6. Upside Down
7. Full House
8. Mr. Bojangles
9. Used 'ta Could
10. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
11. Optimism$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
REDD-MAC-5317xChristian McBride Big Band
The Good Feeling
Available on Audiophile 180 gram Vinyl for the First Time!
2012 Grammy Winner - Best Large Jazz Ensemble!
The good feeling you are about to feel is the kind that can only be derived by the collective efforts of players at the peak of their powers assembled and led by the one and only Christian McBride! The bassist with the mostest hosts an aggregation of players here including his own bandmate Steve Wilson, multi-reedman Ron Blake, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and his close personal friend, vocalist Melissa Walker. McB arranges and conducts the project, which has been a life-long dream of his. They don't call it brass for nothing! 180 gram double vinyl pressing from Mack Avenue Records.
- Christian McBride (bass, arranger, conductor)
- Steve Wilson (alto sax, flute)
- Todd Bashore (alto sax, flute)
- Ron Blake (tenor, soprano sax, flute)
- Todd Williams (tenor sax, flute)
- Loren Schoenberg (tenor sax)
- Carl Maraghi (baritone sax, bass clarinet)
- Frank Green (trumpet)
- Freddie Hendrix (trumpet)
- Nicholas Payton (trumpet)
- Nabate Isles (trumpet)
- Steve Davis (trombone)
- Michael Dease (trombone)
- James Burton (trombone)
- Douglas Purviance (bass trombone)
- Xavier Davis (piano)
- Ulysses Owens, Jr. (drums)
- Melissa Walker (vocals)LP1
1. Shake 'n Bake
3. Brother Mister
4. When I Fall In Love
5. Science Fiction
1. The Shade of the Cedar Tree
2. The More I See You
3. I Should Care
4. A Taste of Honey
5. Bluesin' In Alphabet City
6. In A Hurry$27.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Quartets: Live At The Village Vanguard Vol. 2
Part Of The Blue Note 75th Anniversary Vinyl Reissue Campaign
Named Jazz Album of the Year by readers of Downbeat Magazine, this double album features tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano during two appearances at the Village Vanguard recorded ten months apart. Other than the leader, the pair of quartets are completely different and they bring out two sides of Lovano. The earlier session features the leader in a stimulating piano-less quartet, matching wits and creativity with flÜgelhornist Tom Harrell. While the music is closer to Ornette Coleman than to Gerry Mulligan (to name two famous pianoless groups), Harrell's tone more closely resembles Chuck Mangione than Don Cherry although fortunately he is much more inventive. The four Lovano originals are adventurous and all of the musicians sound as if they are stretching themselves. The second disc showcases Lovano in a more conventional quartet. The repertoire (just one original this time) covers John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and Gordon Jenkins and finds the tenorman displaying his roots in Sonny Rollins. The rhythm section on the later date (pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Lewis Nash) is excellent at accompanying (rather than challenging) Lovano. In both cases, Joe Lovano is heard in prime form, making this an easily recommended two-fer.
- Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)1. Lonnie's Lament
3. Little Willie Leaps
4. This Is All I Ask
6. Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love
7. Sounds Of Joy$24.99Vinyl LP Reissue - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
The Look Of LoveThe Look of Love doesn't tamper with Diana Krall's ongoing success, continuing the emphasis on romantic ballads and embracing them with lush string arrangements. At the core, of course, is Krall's voice. She's developing into one of the great torch singers, with an approach that's both direct and subtly nuanced, true to the song and yet deeply personal.
There's a combination of restraint and drama here, as Krall ranges from the confident to the wistful, from loss to playful insinuation, as each song requires. Cry Me a River is bittersweet triumph, while Love Letters and Maybe You'll Be There maintain the most tenuous emotional hold, at once fragile and resilient. Besame Mucho and Dancing in the Dark are sultry romances wafted on light Latin beats. The songs develop their intimacy in the setting of Krall's quartet, which usually includes bassist Christian McBride and drummer Peter Erskine and several fine guitarists, most frequently Russell Malone. They're a superb complement to her voice and piano, and the close communication carries through the depth and sheen added by Claus Ogerman's rich orchestrations. -Stuart Broomer1. S'Wonderful
2. Love Letters
3. I Remember You
4. Cry Me A River
5. Besame Mucho
6. Night We Called It A Day
7. Dancing In The Dark
8. I Get Along Without You Very Well
9. Look Of Love
10. Maybe You'll Be There$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Seeds From The UndergroundOver the course of a stellar career that has spanned more than 30 years, saxophonist Kenny Garrett has become the preeminent alto saxophonist of his generation. From his first gig with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by Mercer Ellington) through his time spent with musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis, Garrett has always brought a vigorous yet melodic, and truly distinctive, alto saxophone sound to each musical situation. As a bandleader for the last two decades, he has also continually grown as a composer. With his latest recording (and second for Mack Avenue Records), Seeds From The Underground, Garrett has given notice that these qualities have not only become more impressive, but have provided him with the platform to expand his horizons and communicate his musical vision clearly. Seeds From The Underground is a powerful return to the straight-ahead, acoustic and propulsive quartet format that showcases Garrett's extraordinary abilities.
For Garrett, Seeds From The Underground is a special recording. It once again consists of all original compositions, and is truly an homage to those who have inspired and influenced him, both personally and musically. "All of these songs are dedicated to someone," says Garrett. "And the 'seeds' have been planted, directly or indirectly, by people who have been instrumental in my development."
With Seeds From The Underground Garrett has crafted a project that offers his appreciation while always making the listener aware of his band's skillful approach to melody, harmony and rhythm. From personal nods such as the opening track "Boogety Boogety," dedicated to his memory of watching western films with his father (the title refers to the sound of a galloping horse); "Wiggins," which references his high school band director Bill Wiggins; and "Detroit," an evocative, reflective composition about his hometown, and a celebration of mentor Marcus Belgrave; to his appreciation of some of his musical heroes on "J Mac" (Jackie McLean); "Haynes Here" (Roy Haynes); and "Do Wo Mo" (Duke Ellington, Woody Shaw and Thelonious Monk).
Melody, as a matter of fact, was a key element for the saxophonist when writing for the recording. "I wanted to focus on the melody," Garrett reflects. "I want people to remember what the melody is before we start improvising and on some songs I heard voices, the singing of the melody." This latter point is in evidence on the selections "Haynes Here," "Detroit" and "Welcome Earth Song."
Another notable component compositionally for Garrett on Seeds From The Underground is his approach to rhythm and meter. Over the past few years, one of the most popular and acclaimed groups that he has been a part of is the GRAMMY® award winning Five Peace Band, joining guitarist John McLaughlin, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Christian McBride, and drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Brian Blade. His participation in that band led him to experiment with writing in different meters. "Some of these songs are in odd meters; in my experience with John, we played some songs in odd meters, so I thought, this is a different way of writing songs," Garrett states. "So there is some of that approach here."
Garrett's current working band is very much up to the task on Seeds From The Underground. And like all successful bandleaders, Garrett knows what he wants musically and has formed a band that will best communicate his message (with implicit trust among one another). Bassist Nat Reeves is a rhythmic anchor and a long-standing member of Garrett's past aggregations. However, for this recording, Garrett thought a lot about the talents of fellow Detroiter, drummer Ronald Bruner, as well as Venezuelan pianist Benito Gonzalez. "When I decided I wanted to do the album, I had Ronald in mind; I thought that he would work well on these songs. And Benito has been in my band for a while, and we talked conceptually about how I hear the piano in the band. McCoy Tyner is my man, so I wanted to have more of that sound, and there aren't a lot of young guys around who are dealing with that like Benito is." Percussionist Rudy Bird also provides a driving, rhythmic pulse to the recording.
A very important contributor to Seeds From The Underground is the project's co-producer: pianist, composer and educator, Donald Brown. His friendship with Garrett goes back to their days with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. He has been an integral part of past Garrett recordings, and has been a musical inspiration for him. "I feel comfortable in the studio with him and I know he's going to hear what I hear, because we think alike in how we hear music," states Garrett. "I've also always admired his compositions and he was really inspired by these compositions, so he was glad that we were able to hook back up on this project."
Garrett has always expressed interest in music from other parts of the world. Whether it's Africa, Greece, Indonesia, China or Guadeloupe, he immerses himself in the culture and gleans from his experience something that becomes a part of his artistic message. On Seeds From The Underground, the African-influenced "Welcome Earth Song" and "Laviso, I Bon?" (the latter was inspired by a musician friend in Guadeloupe) are prime examples.
The album highlights Garrett's overall approach to music: wide-ranging, receiving ideas from all musical sources and genres. Garrett states, "I love the challenge of trying to stay open about music and about life. If it's music, I just try to check it out. Right now I'm listening to some music from Martinique and I'm lovin' it. If I like it, maybe I can incorporate some of it into what I do." As for composing: "I don't try to control what I write," he says. "Music comes from 'The Creator.' It's a gift that's coming in, and I receive it. I write in all genres, and I'm writing all the time. It's never about what it is I just say thank you."
Seeds From The Underground is the latest stop on what continues to be a fascinating musical journey for Kenny Garrett and his listeners. It's a recording that is not only a significant personal statement from the saxophonist, but a musical declaration of his continued growth as a musician, and in particular, as a composer.1. Boogety Boogety
2. J. Mac
4. Haynes Here
6. Seeds from the Underground
8. Welcome Earth Song
9. Ballad Jarrett
10. Laviso, I Bon?$27.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
FriendsA release that its creator Stanley Jordan cites as his most realized project to date finds him in challenging company: fellow strummers Charlie Hunter, Russell Malone, Bucky Pizzarelli and Mike Stern; saxmen (and label mate) Kenny Garrett and Ronnie Laws; N'awlins trumpeter Nicholas Payton and the renown violinist Regina Carter. Another
label mate, Christian McBride, guests on bass when not handled by Stanley's long-time trio bassist Charnett Moffett. Kenwood Dennard of his trio holds down the drum chair. Truly, a collection of Friends whose benefits push Stanley into a heightened musical reality.1. Capitol J
2. Walkin' The Dog
3. Lil' Darlin'
4. Giant Steps
5. I Kissed A Girl
6. Samba Delight
7. Seven Come Eleven
8. Bathed In Light
9. Bartok Duet
11. One For Milton$27.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Love ScenesLike a mink draped over mahogany, Diana Krall's luxuriously supple alto adorns the vintage songs of romance and longing found on Love Scenes with a palpable aura of glamour and late-night cool. Her ostensibly effortless command of phrasing and intonation, whether the mood is seduction or a sweet sassiness, further fortifies the opinion that the Canadian vocalist-pianist possesses one of the great female jazz voices to surface in the late 1990s.
Augmented by spare but skillful instrumentation from bassist Christian McBride and guitarist Russell Malone, Krall sustains a largely quiet (though hardly sleepy) ambience throughout the album's 12 selections, from Irving Berlin's How Deep Is the Ocean (How High Is the Sky), which she also uses as a showcase for her touch at the keyboard, to Gershwin's They Can't Take That Away from Me. Her swing is artfully subdued (All or Nothing at All), and her wry, expressive approach to Peel Me a Grape is pure charm. Yet Krall shines most luminously on languid gems such as I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You and Garden in the Rain. Anyone in search of an album ideal for watching city lights at 2 a.m. should keep Love Scenes in mind. --Terry WoodLP 1
1. All Or Nothing At All
2. Peel Me A Grape
3. I Don't Know Enough About You
4. I Miss You So
5. They Can't Take That Away From Me
6. Lost Mind
1. I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You
2. You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me
3. Gentle Rain
4. How Deep Is The Ocean (How High Is The Sky)
5. My Love Is
6. Garden In The Rain$34.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Live In ParisRecorded at the historic Olympia Theatre in Paris in November 2001, this is Diana Krall's first live album. Backed by her quicksilver combo of bassist John Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton, and guitarist John Pisano (on some tracks), Krall's jazz heritage comes through loud and clear on this program of standards, ballads, and bossa novas. On Peggy Lee's I Love Being Here with You, Bob Dorough's Devil May Care, and Frank Sinatra's Fly Me to the Moon, Krall's snappy, postbop piano playing shows off her debt to Nat King Cole and Jimmy Rowles.
Her cool contralto vocals are illuminated by the Orchestre Symphonique Europeen, under the direction of Alan Broadbent, as well as the London Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Claus Ogerman. Krall's deep take on Joni Mitchell's A Case of You is a great choice for an encore, and the album concludes with Billy Joel's Just the Way You Are (a studio track from a film called The Guru), with tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and bassist Christian McBride. This collection only hints at what Diana Krall has to offer in the future. -Eugene Holley Jr.1. I Love Being Here With You
2. Let's Fall In Love
3. 'Deed I Do
4. The Look Of Love
5. East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)
6. I've Got You Under My Skin
7. Devil May Care
8. Maybe You'll Be There
9. 'S Wonderful
10. Fly Me to the Moon
11. A Case of You
12. Just the Way You Are$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
MoodSwing (Out Of Stock)This reissue of MoodSwing is Joshua Redmans third recording as a band leader and his first featuring all-original compositions. The young saxophonist sought to change what he believed to be the public perception of jazz, a largely academic and overly intellectualized form of music devoid of the emotional themes that drive many other genres. As he explains in the original liner notes, jazz was seen as, an elite art form, reserved for a sophisticated intelligentsia who rendezvous in secret. With MoodSwing, Redman makes the case that jazz can be an accessible musical medium that could evoke basic and visceral emotional reactions.
From the playfully coy Chill to the urgent energy of Rejoice, Redman offers up a communicative and inspired record of emotional diversity. Joining him in this task was a young band of his peers, all of whom have since become established and esteemed figures in jazz. MoodSwing was one of the first exposures the jazz community had to young pianist Brad Mehldau, then beginning his career in Redmans quartet. Mehldau anchors these compositions behind Redmans lyrical playing, occasionally stepping out front to show his talents in The Oneness of Two and Past in the Present. The bands rhythm section has since been recognized as one of jazzs best, with Christian McBride on bass, and then little-known Brian Blade on the drums. As the follow-up to his breakout Wish, MoodSwing was universally praised by critics and enjoyed commercial success and many of these compositions are still featured in the saxophonists live sets today.
1. Sweet Sorrow
5. Alone in the Morning
8. The Oneness of Two
9. Past in the Present
11. Headin Home$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP + CD - 2 LPs Sealed Temporarily out of stock