Christian McBride

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Christian McBride
Bassist Christian McBride.jpg
McBride at the 2009 Detroit Jazz Festival
Background information
Birth nameChristian Lee McBride
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, big band
InstrumentsDouble bass, bass guitar
Years active1989–present
LabelsVerve, Warner Bros., Ropeadope, Mack Avenue

Christian Lee McBride is an American jazz bassist, composer and arranger. He has appeared on more than 300 recordings as a sideman, and is a six-time Grammy Award winner.

McBride has performed and recorded with a number of jazz musicians and ensembles, including Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Joe Henderson, Diana Krall, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Eddie Palmieri, Joshua Redman, and Ray Brown's "SuperBass" with John Clayton, as well as with pop, hip-hop, soul and classical musicians like Sting, Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Isaac Hayes, The Roots,[1] Queen Latifah, Kathleen Battle, Renee Fleming, Carly Simon, Bruce Hornsby, and James Brown.

Early life[edit]

After starting on bass guitar, McBride switched to double bass and studied at the Juilliard School.[2]

Later life and career[edit]

McBride, left with Jimmy Heath

McBride joined saxophonist Bobby Watson's group at the age of 17. From age 17 to 22, McBride played in the bands of older musicians such as Watson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Milt Jackson, J. J. Johnson and Hank Jones, as well as his peers such as Roy Hargrove, Benny Green, and Joshua Redman. In 1996, jazz bassist Ray Brown formed a group called SuperBass with McBride and fellow Brown protégé John Clayton. The group released two albums: SuperBass: Live at Scullers (1997) and SuperBass 2: Live at the Blue Note (2001).

McBride was a member of saxophonist Joshua Redman's Quartet in the early 1990s with pianist Brad Mehldau and drummer Brian Blade. McBride began leading his own groups in 1995 after the release of his debut album Gettin' to It (Verve). Saxophonist Tim Warfield, pianists Charles Craig and Joey Calderazzo, and drummers Carl Allen and Greg Hutchinson are among the musicians who played in McBride's early groups. From 2000 to 2008, McBride led his own ensemble, the Christian McBride Band, with saxophonist Ron Blake, pianist/keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer, and drummer Terreon Gully. The band released two albums: Vertical Vision (Warner Bros., 2003) and Live at Tonic (Ropeadope, 2006).

In 1996, McBride contributed to the AIDS benefit album Offbeat: A Red Hot Soundtrip produced by the Red Hot Organization.

McBride primarily plays double bass, but he is equally adept on bass guitar. He played both on the album The Philadelphia Experiment, which included keyboardist Uri Caine and hip-hop drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson.[3] Other projects have included tours and recordings with the Pat Metheny Trio, the Bruce Hornsby Trio, and Queen Latifah. Like Paul Chambers, McBride can solo by playing his bass arco style.

In 2006, McBride was named to the position of Creative Chair for Jazz with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, taking over from Dianne Reeves. He was signed to a two-year contract that was renewed for an additional two years. He was succeeded by Herbie Hancock in 2010.[4]

McBride performed with Sonny Rollins and Roy Haynes at Carnegie Hall on September 18, 2007, in commemoration of Rollins' 50th anniversary of his first performance there.[5] McBride was also tapped by CBS to be a producer for the tribute to Rollins on the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors broadcast.

In 2008, McBride joined John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett and Vinnie Colaiuta in a jazz fusion supergroup called the Five Peace Band. They released an album in February 2009 and completed their world tour in May of that year, as Brian Blade took over for Vinnie Colaiuta as drummer in Asia and some US concerts. The album Five Peace Band Live won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group

In 2011 McBride released his first big band album, The Good Feeling, for which he won the Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance.

McBride leads five groups: Inside Straight, featuring alto/soprano saxophonist Steve Wilson, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, pianist Peter Martin and drummer Carl Allen; a trio featuring pianist Christian Sands and drummer Jerome Jennings; his 18-piece big band; an experimental group called A Christian McBride Situation with pianist/keyboardist Patrice Rushen, turntablists DJ Logic and Jahi Sundance, saxophonist Ron Blake and vocalist Alyson Williams; and the New Jawn, featuring trumpeter Josh Evans, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and drummer Nasheet Waits.

In March 2016, McBride was named artistic director of the Newport Jazz Festival, succeeding the festival's founder and artistic director, George Wein.

Personal life[edit]

Christian is married to jazz singer and educator Melissa Walker. Walker, with contributions by McBride, leads the Jazz House Kids, a jazz school in their home town of Montclair, New Jersey. Each summer, they both appear at the Montclair Jazz Festival, along with student ensembles led by the instructors, professional ensembles composed of instructors, and guest acts.

McBride shared the story of his first encounters with Freddie Hubbard in "The Gig" and his relationship with James Brown in "Mr. Soul On Top" on The Moth Radio Hour, a radio show and podcast devoted to story-telling.[6]


An asterisk (*) indicates that the year is that of release.

As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
1994 Gettin' to It Verve
1995 Number Two Express Verve
1998 A Family Affair Verve
2000 SciFi Verve
2000 The Philadelphia Experiment Ropeadope
2002 Vertical Vision Warner Bros.
2005 Live at Tonic Ropeadope
2009* Kind of Brown Mack Avenue
2011* Conversations with Christian Mack Avenue
2013* People Music Mack Avenue
2013* Out Here Mack Avenue
2015* Live at the Village Vanguard Mack Avenue *2016 GRAMMY AWARD FOR BEST IMPROVISED JAZZ SOLO (Cherokee)
2018 Christian McBride's New Jawn Mack Avenue


  • It's Christmas on Mack Avenue (Mack Avenue, 2014)

As sideman[edit]

with Gary Bartz

With Regina Belle

With Peter Bernstein

With Chris Botti

With Don Braden

With James Carter

With Chick Corea

With George Duke

With Teddy Edwards

With Ricky Ford

With Frank Foster

With Benny Green

With Roy Hargrove

With Joe Henderson

With Bruce Hornsby

With Freddie Hubbard

With Etta Jones

With Hank Jones

With Diana Krall

With Queen Latifah

With Joe Lovano

With Harold Mabern

With Paul McCartney

With Brad Mehldau

With Pat Metheny and Antonio Sanchez

With Mulgrew Miller

With Chris Potter

With Joshua Redman

With Wallace Roney

With David Sanborn

With Yutaka Shiina

  • United (1998)

With Jimmy Smith

With Sting

With Craig Taborn

With Joseph Tawadros

  • Permission to Evaporate (2014)

With McCoy Tyner

With Cedar Walton

With Michael Wolff

  • Jumpstart (1995)
  • 2AM (1997)

With John Zorn

With Eddie Palmieri

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Archived April 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Christian McBride: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  3. ^ Alder, David R. "Philadelphia Experiment". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Christian McBride bio" (PDF). Los Angeles Philharmonic. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 26, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  5. ^ "Garnegie Hall official website". Retrieved 2011-07-17.
  6. ^ The Moth, February 10, 2011.

External links[edit]