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Album Review

Christian McBride's New Jawn: Prime


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Christian McBride's New Jawn: Prime
"Head Bedlam," crashes from the gate with a gale force which instantly gives away the plot of Prime. Put simply, the sophomore release from maverick bassist Christian McBride's New Jawn (Philadelphia slang for something not yet named or created) is a free-form steeplechase. Crying, screeching, testifying, New Jawn trumpeter Josh Evans and saxophonist & bass clarinetist Marcus Strickland blow wild and loud over drummer Nasheet Waits' tumbling manifesto and McBride's deep-rooted thrumbling, to summon forth the ancestors (Ornette Coleman for starters) to jam with the new brash generation in a funky, wheeling swagger.

With trigger quick wit and telepathy Prime's flagship track develops into a full-on, fun-house jam as the delightfully chord-less quintet run roughshod over this and all of Prime's eight master class tracks. "Obsequious" with its runaway railroad momentum finds McBride riding high throughout, setting the pace, breaking it, escaping it, soaring and whiplashing all around, in-between and upside right side among his fellow rousers with a cool liquidity that few master.

In perpetual, emblematic motion, Prime (released through Brother Mister Productions, McBride's Mack Avenue Music Group imprint) crests and subsides, fitting New Jawn's composure just fine. "The Lurkers," with its brooding alien spacecraft soundtrack, dissolves into the frisky samba of "The Good Life." Waits takes command here but not without hand-to-hand combat with a clear throated Evans, whose tone ranges from clarion to vamp, with Strickland's brawny tenor hot on his heels, bringing the swing and clearing the way for McBride to add his juice to the equation. The free-spirited "Dolphy Dust," highlighting yet another firebrand McBride solo, and the fiery closer "East Broadway Rundown" take on all skeptics and non-believers that New Jawn is the new deal. Yes, it is. The proof is in the music and there is plenty of that on Prime; sure to be a fixture in best of 2023 lists.

Track Listing

Head Bedlam; Prime; Moonchild; Obsequiois; The Lurkers; The Good Life; Dolphy Dust; East Broadway Rubdown.


Christian McBride: bass; Josh Evans: trumpet; Marcus Strickland: clarinet, bass; Nasheet Waits: drums.

Album information

Title: Prime | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Brother Mister Productions

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