Happy 40th Birthday, Christian McBride!
May 31, 2012. Posted by Thurston Briscoe.
Christian McBride was a teenager when I first met him. Back when folks were still listening to records, WBGO hosted Record Fairs every year at Newark's Gateway Plaza, and Christian and was performing with trumpeter Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart on saxophone and Greg Hutchinson on drums. These guys were dressed to the nines when they arrived at the gig.
Christian, Roy, Greg and Antonio put on a breathtaking performance, which made clear to me that a new generation in jazz was ready for the main stage. Today we would call them "emerging artists," but at the time they were called "young lions." It was a marketing label they rejected as hype - but it did capture the ferocity, focus and love they brought to jazz.
Christian's warm, humorous personality and diverse musical tastes captured my attention, and have kept it ever since. He, Ray Brown and Ron Carter are my favorite "out-front" bassists: their sound, and their spirit, allow them to step out and become leaders. Plus, I just like him.
Christian still dresses to the nines, is warm and funny, and plays his heart out every performance. And he works hard to pass his passion for jazz on to the next generation of "rising stars."
Today is his birthday. A milestone birthday. So I decided to make this week Christian McBride Week at WBGO.
Thanks, Christian, and Happy 40th!!
© 2012 WBGO
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