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Album Review

Christian McBride: Live at the Village Vanguard


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Christian McBride: Live at the Village Vanguard
Bassist Christian McBride records his first live album with his highly-acclaimed quintet known as the Inside Straight, documenting an incredible evening of music on Live At The Village Vanguard. The album showcases outstanding performances from every member of the band. It is McBride's twelfth release on Mack Avenue and it was the Inside Straight quintet that began the bassist's collaboration with Mack Avenue in 2009. After a week-long sold-out debut appearance by the group at New York's jazz club in 2007, the Village Vanguard, performing there became a regular musical experience.

The inside Straight Quintet is comprised of an all-star cast of musicians that produce an explosive straight-ahead sound. Besides the leader on bass there is Steve Wilson on alto and soprano saxophones, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, Peter Martin on the piano and Carl Allen on the drums—together packing a musical punch evidenced by the many crowd ovations heard throughout the session.

The repertoire consists of seven original compositions from members of the band: one from Wilson, two from Wolf and four from the leader. An interesting feature of the recording is that there are no short tunes, with the majority of the performances being over ten-minutes long. From the opening "Sweet Bread," driven by Wolf's magical vibes, to the beautiful piano lines on the engaging "Fair Hope Theme," and the delicate soprano voice on "Ms. Angelou," each of the tunes has something to offer.

Other performances not to be missed are the perky "The Shade of the Cedar Tree," the fifteen-minute-long burner "Gang Gang," as well as the delicious "Uncle James" and closing with the hard-driving "Stick & More." This is one of those live recordings one would be likely to say "wish I were there." No doubt about it, Christian McBride has another Grammy contender on his hands.

Track Listing

Sweet Bread; Fair Hope Theme; Ms. Angelou; The Shade of the Cedar Tree; Gang Gang; Uncle james; Stick and Move.


Christian McBride: bass; Steve Wilson: saxophone, alto; Warren Wolf: vibraphone; Peter Martin: piano; Carl Allen: drums.

Album information

Title: Live at the Village Vanguard | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records

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