Christian McBride Band
New York, NY
December 30, 2004
Christian McBride rocked a sold out house the second set Thursday, December 30th at Jazz Standard with a show that proved that a jazz band could be soulful without sacrificing sophistication.
Starting off with a rousing rendition of the Spinner's hit "I'm Comin' Home" that began with drummer Terreon Gulley laying down a funky New Orleans rhythm anchored by McBride's big bottom, the band alluded to the grooving sounds of Weather Report and the Jazz Crusaders while remaining thoroughly modern. Geoff Keezer was impressive manning a battery of keyboards with amazing aplomb while Ron Blake's powerful tenor rode smoothly over the trio's incessant groove. The saxophonist turned in a beautifully lyrical performance on his own "Shades of Brown," which preceded McBride's introduction of Melissa Walker who moved the audience with Bobby and Pamela Watson's "Love Remains." The singer continued tenderly with Janis Ian's reminiscent "Seventeen" (featuring Blake's flute) and her own stirring lyric to Tex Allen's gospel-tinged "Love Is." Then McBride counted off an up-tempo version of "Yesterdays" that had the whole group swinging hard over his fast-walking bass while Walker showed off her marvelous articulation and expansive range.
A solo bass recital of "Night Train" showcased the bassist's awesome virtuosity, before he switched to fretless Fender for a frenzied no-holds-barred finale on "Boogie-Woogie Waltz."