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Hear Melissa Walker and Christian McBride on Singers Unlimited

Melissa Walker and Christian McBride
Isaiah McClain/WBGO
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Melissa Walker and Christian McBride

It’s astonishing that bassist Christian McBride is only 45. He’s been playing with everyone for decades. Roy Hargrove and the Jazz Futures early on. Diana Krall. Sonny Rollins. And plenty of other jazz masters, including his mentor Ray Brown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAagIslMv0A

He’s become one of the jazz masters himself. Host of Jazz Night in America. Musical director of the Newport Jazz Festival this year. Musical director of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival this week at NJPAC. On Friday evening he’s playing one-on-one with singer Dianne Reeves. Sunday evening, his big band honors the centennials of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie with a stellar gathering of celebrants: singers Gregory Porter, Lizz Wright, and Valerie Simpson, violinist Regina Carter, and trumpeters Randy Brecker and Sean Jones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGH6HEpQbvM

Christian’s wife is the singer and educator Melissa Walker, who has headed the Jazz House Kids program for 13 years. She sings on his newest big band album, Bringin’ It. And she joined Christian in our studio to perform some duets and talk about the Moody fest during a recent visit to Singers Unlimited.

Michael Bourne was a presence on the air at WBGO between the end of 1984 and the start of 2022, when he retired from full time hosting duty. He is the host of the Singers Unlimited Podcast by WBGO Studios. Previously, he hosted the popular Singers Unlimited (1985-2022). He also hosted the equally popular Blues Break for several years. Michael is a senior contributor to Down Beat, with the magazine since 1969. Doctor Bourne earned a PhD in Theatre from Indiana University -- which comes in handy when he's a theatre critic for the WBGO Journal.