Skip to content

Christian McBride & Inside Straight – Live at the Village Vanguard (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Christian McBride & Inside Straight – Live at the Village Vanguard (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 01:19:45 minutes | 1,65 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Mack Avenue Records

This record is the fruit of McBride’s long association with the Vanguard, where his first appearance as a leader for the historic club was in 1995. In 2007, the bassist and charismatic club owner Lorraine Gordon started an annual one-week residency, which featured McBride’s quintet, Inside Straight. “Lorraine enjoyed my trio and my quintet, Inside Straight. We had such large crowds, so after a few years with such supportive audiences, we added an extra week. Instead of doing the same band for two weeks, I just started bringing in a different band. This has been an ongoing relationship that I look forward to maintaining as long as I can.”

Undeterred by having already released an album called Live at the Village Vanguard in 2015, albeit with a trio, force-of-nature bassist Christian McBride has decided to give it another go under the same title as the earlier Grammy-winning set. McBride is powered by obvious musical gifts and a big personality that revels in promoting his many ventures: he runs a jazz school in New Jersey with his wife—jazz singer Mellisa Walker and leads five different jazz groups, including a trio, big band, the New Jawn, the edgier DJ-led ensemble Christian McBride Situation, and Inside Straight—the band heard here. The biggest difference between the two albums, both recorded during the same two-week stand at the storied NYC West Village club in 2014, is that unlike the earlier set list which included jazzified renditions of mainstream pop tunes like Rod Temperton’s “The Lady in My Life,” (famous as part of Michael Jackson’s Thriller) and Motown producer Norman Whitfield’s theme to the film Car Wash, all the tunes on this new album are composed either by McBride or a member of Inside Straight. Well-played, hard-driving post-bop with plenty of room for solos by all is the method. On top of a solid rhythm section of McBride and drummer Carl Allen, virtuoso vibraphone player Warren Wolf is a breath of fresh talent accenting every tune but shining brightest in a pair of his originals including the long, propulsive “Gang Gang” where his speed and natural lyricism combine with Allen’s bravura performance for the album’s standout piece. In his composition “Fair Hope” McBride has a long solo that once again excels at dexterity and musicality. Generally thought of as an alto saxophonist, Steve Wilson leads a take of his moody tribute to poet Maya Angelou, “Ms. Angelou” on soprano sax. The boxing-themed, fast-paced closer “Stick & Move” is kicked off by McBride, with pianist Peter Martin taking the first solo before handing back off McBride who quotes “Old Macdonald Had a Farm,” for a playful, crowd-pleasing conclusion. McBride has successfully taken his instrument out of the rhythm section and into the spotlight—no small feat. Another solid outing, this time with a lesser known setlist, from a player bent on stardom. – Robert Baird

01. Christian McBride – Sweet Bread (Live)
02. Christian McBride – Fair Hope Theme (Live)
03. Christian McBride – Ms. Angelou (Live)
04. Christian McBride – The Shade of the Cedar Tree (Live)
05. Christian McBride – Gang Gang (Live)
06. Christian McBride – Uncle James (Live)
07. Christian McBride – Stick & Move (Live)


%d bloggers like this: