Christian McBride: Bass Beautiful
CM: I won't be in town long enough to hear him play, but I'm sure he'll be working somewhere. I remember him teaching me my first song on the electric bass, "Papa Was a Rolling Stone."
AAJ: Did you ever expect the fame you have to come so young?
CM: Well, I never thought of fame as one of my successes. I've found that recording with and touring around the world with great, popular musicians (jazz and pop), having major recording contracts, being artistic director at various schools, winning polls, and being relatively influential on my instrument doesn't lower my taxes, get me recognized on the subway, or get me on the cover of Down Beat. So, I've never considered myself "famous."
AAJ: Feelings on electric bass use?
CM: That's kind of a slanted question. Almost as if the electric bass deserves some special mention over (or under) the acoustic. It depends on the music. It's just an instrument.
AAJ: Any other comments.
CM: I hope the Eagles finally do it this year. They have Terrell Owens. There's no excuse. But then again, they've never had any excuses! :-)
Providing something of an insight into one major link of McBride's career, we talked to another Philadelphia bass man of note, his father, Lee Smith. He is a marvelous bass man who works all over town and regularly with a duo at the Prime Rib, Sunday to Wednesday and some Thursday's. Some of his answers to our questions follow.
- I started my pro career mostly in R&B, worked with Delphonics, Billy Paul, Blue Magic, later with Mongo Santamaria for four or five years.
- My favorites in terms of bass would be Ray Brown and Oscar Peterson.
- I used to think of jazz as progressive, evolving into another form, but it really hasn't evolved that much recently.
- I am quite proud of my son.
Clearly, Christian McBride has some strong Philly links.
Visit Christian McBride on the web at www.christianmcbride.com .