Christian McBride Biography

21 May 1972, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. McBride began taking bass lessons at the age of 11, and at 17 attended the Juilliard School of Music where he studied and played the classical repertoire. Soon after his arrival there, however, he began playing in clubs with Bobby Watson’s band alongside fellow student Roy Hargrove. When Hargrove formed his own group McBride was on board, and during the same school year he also played with Benny Golson and Freddie Hubbard. With characteristic understatement, McBride remarked to Jazz Journal International’s Derek Ansell, ‘That was a hard year.’ In 1991 McBride met Ray Brown and two years later the veteran invited the newcomer to partner him at Pittsburgh’s ‘Ray Brown Day’.

Although very much attuned to contemporary happenings in jazz, McBride has expressed a particular delight in playing bop, while at the same time he retains a deep awareness of the traditions of the jazz form. During the relatively short span of his career he has played with a remarkable parade of leading jazz musicians, including Benny Green, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Steve Turre, Chick Corea, Kenny Barron and Jack DeJohnette, with most of whom he has recorded, sometimes under his own name. In the mid-90s he began a series of intriguing trio recordings with Hargrove and others. McBride’s startling technical accomplishment, allied as it is to a gorgeous full tone, has led to his being spoken of in the same awed breath as Jimmy Blanton and Brown, and there is little doubt that he continues the tradition of virtuoso bass players in jazz. McBride also writes many originals for his own groups. He was a key member of Diana Krall’s bestselling Love Scenes in 1998.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.