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Christian McBride and Inside Straight

People Music

(Mack Avenue; US: 14 May 2013; UK: 13 May 2013)

Music for the people

According to the liner notes, bassist Christian McBride formed this acoustic jazz combo in response to Village Vanguard club owner Lorraine Gordon’s instructions that if McBride wanted to perform there again, he had to do so without his electric “rock ‘n’ roll band”. Despite the high energy of this recording, no one will confuse this swing/bop for rock. The three-time Grammy Award winner McBride calls his style of playing “People Music”, hence the title of this album. By that McBride reveals that he is concerned with being accessible, but this album is far from condescending. He and his band, Inside Straight, perform in odd time signatures with twisted melodies that stop and start with precision and boldness.


The group consists of veteran drummer Carl Allen and longtime pianist Peter Martin on six of the eight cuts and employs new young talent (drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. and pianist Christian Sands) on the other two. Steve Wilson is the lone horn player and Warren Wolf handles the vibes. However, bassist McBride leads the band and shows the other instrumentalists where he wants the music to go. No matter where their solos take them, McBride always brings them back home. The music is for the people, not the players, he reminds them.

Rating:

Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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