July 6, 2016 |
Chick Corea, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade - what a trio! - were working through Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" at Longwood Gardens Sunday night - when something happened that suited the evening. On a night that belonged to Philly-born double bassist McBride at least as much as it did to Corea or Blade, McBride decided to take up the bow. As he began delectable explorations, urging out sinewy, singing, athletic lines, the birds struck up in the trees surrounding the Open Air Theatre.
February 2, 2016 |
You could have seen a lot of shows all over Philly on Friday night, but you couldn't have heard better music - or had a better time - than at Chris' Jazz Café, when Joey DeFrancesco, one of the greatest organists in jazz, held forth with his trio. "It's good to be back home," DeFrancesco said after the band's first number. Born in Springfield, Pa., and a product of the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Joey D began with "Baby It's Cold Outside," an appropriate (it was good to be indoors, baby)
November 24, 2015 |
The first influence that Christian McBride mentioned at the Merriam Theater on Saturday night was not one of the four civil-rights icons paid homage in his epic suite The Movement Revisited . Appropriately for a hometown performance, the bassist/composer instead began the evening by talking about his grandmother, whose hoard of Ebony and Jet magazine back issues provided his earliest introduction to African American history. He made fun of her pack-rat tendencies back then, McBride concluded, but now has her to thank for planting the seeds of his most ambitious work as a composer to date.
November 21, 2015 |
Since 1990, when he played bass on albums by elder greats Roy Hargrove and Wallace Roney, Philadelphia's leading bass man Christian McBride has been considered one of the finest craftsmen in jazz, whether jamming, collaborating, or composing. In 1998, McBride got the opportunity of a lifetime: a commission from Maine's Portland Arts Society to compose a piece for Black History Month. The work, which is titled The Movement Revisited , concerns itself with African American themes and includes a choir.
March 21, 2015 |
Pianist Orrin Evans is all about the moment, the conversation within the music, rather than anything preordained or planned. "For me, the most important thing is the hang, and then the music," says Evans. This weekend, on what happens to be Evans' birthday, he'll share his delectable brand of improvisational chatter with members of his trio (bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr.), as well as jazz guitarist and fellow Philadelphian Kurt Rosenwinkel. "Man, you don't even have to put the word milestone or birthday out there," Evans says with a laugh.
October 29, 2014 |
FEATURE FILMS are often accompanied these days by a companion documentary that's spoon-fed first to an HBO or Showtime - a marketing ploy to get folks excited about the movie. Clearly, Alex Gibney's two-hours-short documentary, "Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown," debuting tonight at 9 on HBO, was made in the same time frame as the recent James Brown biopic "Get On Up. " But Mick Jagger, producer of both projects (and a lifelong fan of Brown) opted to hold back the doc, first dishing the dramatized version (with Chadwick Boseman as Soul Brother No. 1)
October 3, 2014 |
Correction: The original article labeled saxophonist Ron Blake incorrectly. FOR A GUY who grew up and got his musical act together in Philly, Christian McBride hasn't been hanging with the homies much. "I haven't been in town as a headliner since 2011," he shared the other day. "We're long overdue. " This weekend, the three-time Grammy winning bassist/composer/band leader and ace sideman is making up for lost time and missed "thank you's" with an eye-and-ear-opening quadruple header at the Clef Club.
October 3, 2014 |
'Three years is too long for me not to play in my hometown. " So said Christian McBride speaking by phone en route to a gig on Long Island. The impossibly in-demand bassist is almost constantly heading off to another gig. To be sure, he has appeared on local stages during that time. He took part in the all-star Monterey Jazz Festival 55th Anniversary band at the Merriam Theater early last year, and he sat in with a group of gifted high schoolers from the Thelonious Monk Institute at Chris' Jazz Cafe a year earlier.
May 30, 2013 |
Jazz keeps getting more international, as this review of recent album releases shows. Top players are coming from Japan and even India - via the American diaspora. At the same time, Philadelphia artists continue to evolve. City native Christian McBride, the über bassist of his generation, continues his string of successes with a new release, while a SEPTA manager, Jawanza Kobie, gets into the act, too, with a credible CD and a release party scheduled June 21 at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
April 27, 2013 |
Money is so tight in the Philadelphia School District that the unthinkable has happened. For the first time in 17 years, CAPA - the High School for Creative and Performing Arts, the district's arts gem on South Broad Street - cannot afford to put on a musical. "I was shocked and upset," said Jack Schmieg, a freshman vocal major at Oberlin College in Ohio who starred as Jean Valjean in CAPA's production of Les Misérables last year. "I couldn't imagine not having a musical.