Conversation With Christian
Review by Willard Manus

The tango is also featured on one track of bassist Christian McBride's latest CD, CONVERSATIONS WITH CHRISTIAN. On it McBride puts down a tango beat while pianist Chick Corea improvises in free-floating fashion for ten blissful minutes.

The bliss permeates most of the CD's other twelve tracks, all of which feature McBride playing duets with a variety of "friends," everyone from singer Dee Dee Bridgewater to violinist Regina Carter to the late pianists Billy Taylor and Hank Jones. The album is a tour de force for McBride, who held L.A. Philharmonic's Creative Chair for Jazz from 2006 to 2010 (and recently won a Grammy for his recent big-band CD, Good Feeling).

"I love and appreciate so many different styles and cultures," McBride confides. "Changing hats, going from one project to another, from a straight-ahead session to an R&B session to a pop session, has always fueled my activity. I try to put all those different sounds into one pot and make a coherent, jazz-inflected sound."

Whether backing up singer Angelique Kidjo on the roots anthem "Africa" or trading licks with Carter on "Fat Bach and Greens" or getting down with trumpeter Roy Hargrove on "Baubles Bangles and Beads," McBride shows why he is considered the premier bass player of his time.