Nearly everyone's favorite acoustic bassist to emerge in the 1990s, Christian McBride's large sound and expertise, both with plucked and bowed solos, recall Ray Brown and particularly Paul Chambers. He actually started on electric bass when he was eight and took R&B gigs in high school, but by then he was getting more interested in jazz and playing the acoustic bass. McBride studied at Juilliard (starting in 1989) and then played briefly in the bands of Bobby Watson, Benny Golson, Roy Hargrove, and Freddie Hubbard. He toured with the Benny Green Trio, played duets with Ray Brown at the 1994 Monterey Jazz Festival, and recorded his debut as a leader for Verve before touring with his own group in 1995.
Beginning with Family Affair in 1998, McBride opened up his sound and incorporated more of the pop, funk, and fusion styles he grew up with. This approach continued through such albums as Sci-Fi and Vertical Vision. Having jumped labels from Verve to Warner in the early 2000s, McBride made yet another label change, releasing the more straight-ahead New York Time on Chesky in 2006. In 2009 McBride returned with an equally straight-ahead set of mostly original tunes, Kind of Brown. Two years later he offered The Good Feeling, his first turn as leader of a big band. The duets album Conversations with Christian followed in 2011. In 2013 McBride returned to working with his Inside Straight quintet for the album People Music. Also in 2013, McBride delivered the trio album Out Here. In 2015 McBride released another trio effort, Live at the Village Vanguard. ~ Scott Yanow