Label: Mack Avenue
2,000 Copies Limited Edition – 200 Gram Virgin Vinyl – Pressed at RTI
This solid group rekindles the classic 60s Blue Note sound… Released as a limited edition 210-gram vinyl double LP set.” – Bill Milkowski, The Absolute Sound,
The Absolute Sound Super Disc List
TAS Rated 4/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sonics in the October 2010 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
This is a must get for any jazz lover
Since 1989 when bassist Christian McBride moved to New York at the age of 17, the Philadelphia native has been one of the most important and influential artists of his generation. He’s not only developed into a top-tier solo artist who is equally adept on acoustic and electric bass, but he’s also been the go-to bass sideman, with support duties ranging from Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea to Diana Krall and Sting. Over a period of 20 years, McBride has been documented on over 250 recordings.
McBride’s debut album with Mack Avenue Records, Kind of Brown, features his new quintet, Inside Straight. In addition to McBride on bass, the quintet consists of pianist Eric Reed, alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, drummer Carl Allen, vibraphonist Warren Wolf.
“McBride and his quintet Inside Straight have a traditional allusion in both their group name and album title. While that fact may reflect on the music’s accessibility and place in straightforward jazz lineages, it doesn’t mean there’s anything stale and stodgy on Kind of Brown. The disc contains the swinging side of McBride’s work, incorporating some hard bop influences. The songs bounce along, and while McBride’s playing never disappoints, he leaves room for his bandmates, and it’s a tight outfit. The music may be straight-ahead, but it’s not starchy; cuts like “Used ‘Ta Could” emphasize the light-hearted pleasure available. One of the better surprises here is the unveiling of Warren Wolf, Jr. on vibes. McBride’s former student holds his own here, showing not only flash but also a strong ability to integrate his playing with the vets surrounding him. While Kind of Brown resists stylistic novelty, it does provide a highly entertaining way to revisit that old Blue Note sound while taking in something fresh.” – Justin Cober-Lake, popmatters.com
“…the best evalution of this album lies in the fact that, before listening, you might beel a little stuffy about McBride’s having shamelessly, with only a single color change, lifted the title of Miles’ by-now classic “Kind of Blue.” After listening, you’ll be too much on Christian’s side to let it bother you…” – Orrin Keepnews, from liner notes
One might assume that bassist Christian McBride’s CD Kind of Brown would be a tribute to Ray Brown. Au contraire — in fact, it would be appropriate for this recording to own up to the title Kind of Blue Note, because this music bears a strong resemblance to the late-’60s to mid-’70s recordings of the legendary Bobby Hutcherson-Harold Land quintet. That seminal post-bop ensemble defined the mid-period Blue Note label sound, and created resonant sonic signposts that remained unequaled, until now. A new discovery in vibraphonist Warren Wolf, Jr., teamed with veteran saxophonist Steve Wilson, the wonderful pianist Eric Reed, and drummer Carl Allen makes McBride’s quintet dubbed Inside Straight into one of the more melodically tuneful and harmonically focused contemporary ensembles combining past tradition with a fresh new approach to this potent style of jazz.
McBride is almost an equal in this company, putting aside his furious note playing for a more democratic role in this extraordinarily balanced small combo. The similarities to the Hutcherson-Land group are unmistakable, from the tick-tock rhythm and melodic line similar to Hutch and Herbie Hancock’s classic composition “Blow Up” on “Brother Mister” to the steady swinger “Rainbow Wheel” and “Pursuit of Peace,” with its probing basslines via McBride and perfectly fitted hand-in-glove melody and unison approach. The athletic and quirky “Stick and Move” is hard-charging bop at its best with Reed leading; soul-jazz is adopted during the waltz “Used ‘ta Could” in parallel to the standard “Better Than Anything”; while “The Shade of the Cedar Tree” (for Cedar Walton) is again similar to what Walton and Hutcherson did with the Timeless All Stars, and close to Walton’s tune “Hindsight.” McBride’s role as a leader is more pronounced on “Theme for Kareem,” an ultra-tight, very hip tune that has potential standard written all over it. Wilson concentrates on alto sax, but plays a bit of soprano on the recording for the waltz-to-samba “Starbeam”; McBride restrains his inclination to play a multiplicity of notes; and Wolf proves to be a new artist to keep a close watch on in the next decade. While Christian McBride has been involved with many amazing recordings during his brief but substantive career, this might be his best batch yet.
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