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Christian McBride Big Band: The Good Feeling (2011)

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Christian McBride Big Band: The Good Feeling How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

With all that Christian McBride has accomplished in his 30 year jazz career, The Good Feeling is his first recording fronting a big band.

This formidable bassist has had a versatile career as leader, sideman, composer and arranger; he has appeared with a galaxy of star players from jazz, as well as rock and pop; and has been commissioned to write for orchestras and festivals.

Here, he commands a tightly-knit 17-piece unit, featuring established soloists like trumpeter Nicholas Payton
Nicholas Payton
Nicholas Payton
b.1973
trumpet
, saxophonists Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson
b.1961
sax, alto
and Ron Blake
Ron Blake
Ron Blake
b.1965
saxophone
, and trombonists Michael Dease
Michael Dease
Michael Dease
b.1982
trombone
and Steve Davis
Steve Davis
Steve Davis
b.1967
trombone
. Pianist Xavier Davis
Xavier Davis
Xavier Davis

piano
and drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. provide the group's foundation.

The aggregation performs six McBride compositions and five standards. Three well-known ballads are given pleasing renditions by vocalist Melissa Walker
Melissa Walker
Melissa Walker
b.1964
vocalist
, in a Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
b.1956
vocalist
cum Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
1924 - 1990
vocalist
vein.

The album starts out with the temperature up on "Shake 'n Blake." As the title suggests, McBride wrote this for Blake, who obliges with a crisp solo. McBride's bass is out front and prominent here, as it is on most numbers.

The venerable Count Basie
Count Basie
Count Basie
1904 - 1984
piano
style is given homage in the bouncy favorite, "Broadway." On another chestnut, "I Should Care," McBride helps to tease out the familiar melody in a delightful manner. The song then becomes a showcase for trumpets and saxophones.

McBride's "Science Fiction" is an almost 12-minute tone poem, effectively suggesting the otherworldly: the piano, a ticking clock; the woodwinds, precursors of all that's alien.

The closing "In a Hurry" is accelerando con brio, with saxophones and trombones turned loose. McBride's bowed bass leads into in an unfettered ending, with a call-and response unleashing a dynamo of drums at the finish.

McBride should keep this band in his phone directory, bringing them together for more recordings and appearances. His orchestra should be listed alongside other ensembles, the likes of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
b.1995
band/orchestra
, the Maria Schneider
Maria Schneider
Maria Schneider

band/orchestra
and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

band/orchestra
.

Track Listing: Shake 'n Blake; Broadway; Brother Mister; When I Fall In Love; Science Fiction; The Shade Of The Cedar Tree; The More I See You; I Should Care; A Taste Of Honey; Bluesin' In Alphabet City; In A Hurry.

Personnel: Christian McBride: Bass; Steve Wilson: alto sax, flute; Todd Bashore: alto sax, flute; Ron Blake: tenor sax, soprano sax, flute; Todd Williams: tenor sax, flute; Loren Schoenberg: tenor sax (2, 8); Carl Maraghi: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Frank Greene: 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 (4, 7, 9).

Record Label: Mack Avenue Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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