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Christian McBride

Last Friday Christian McBride brought his New Jawn Quartet to SF Jazz as part of his residency. With Marcus Strickland on saxophones, Josh Evans on trumpet, and Nasheet Waits on drums, the bassist was free from any other chordal instrument to limit the harmonic explorations. One of the most gifted bassists of his generation (along with Charnett Moffett) like all greats he evokes the entire history of the music. From New Orleans to Ellington to hard bop (which is perhaps the closest genre most of the pieces referenced) it was also entirely modern and fresh. One piece was from Herbie's Mwandishi period (also one of my favorite Herbie bands) and another evoked Bitches Brew rhythms. Yet another was in some esoteric time, I think 17 1/2, but swung like mad. We have been without Miles for long enough now, that Josh Evans channeling him was refreshing and a fitting tribute. As Christian said of Bobby Hutchinson, people leave their bodies, but the music lives on. Marcus Strickland was a revelation, huge tone and and unending imagination. And Nasheet Waits blew my mind; not since Tony Williams (who was obviously a huge influence) have I been so knocked out by a drummer's time and imagination. Along with the Wayne Shorter Quartet, one of the most important groups today.
I've been so busy with my own music, and with my neuro disease company ALSP that I haven't mentioned a couple of great shows I saw recently at SF Jazz. September 12, The Chick Corea Trio, with Christian McBride and Brian Blade played the Miner Auditorium. Christian is, along with Charnette Moffat, and John Patitucci, one of the premier acoustic bass players of his generation. And Brian Blade is perhaps the most creative and abstract drummer around, with credits ranging from Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, to Joni Mitchell, Steve Earle, and Bob Dylan. Chick first played with Christian and Brian in the Five Peace Band with John McLaughlin in 2009. Five years later he toured with them as a trio, and their 2015 live 3 disc recording earned two GRAMMYS for Best Improvised Jazz Solo, and Best Jazz Instrumental Album. From standards to originals, they make the familiar seem fresh, and the unfamiliar a warm home.
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