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Christian McBride on leading by example and 'Living the life you believe in'

Christian McBride

To say Christian McBride is prolific is both obvious and an understatement. The list of his projects is too long to fit neatly into any one container - he’s a musician, an educator, a composer, an artistic director, and a broadcaster. He’s an ambassador, a personality, an icon. And of course, he is a bass player.

One gets the sense that his days are simply fuller than most people’s days. He always seems to be coming from some other event, or heading out to another gig. Honestly, it’s hard not to run into Christian McBride if you’re engaging with this music on any level.

At 50 years old, he has appeared on more than 300 recordings as a sideman, has made nearly 20 as a leader, and is an eight-time Grammy Award winner. There’s nothing trivial about his career. But as he picks up his bass to play, there is an almost mischievous gleam in his eye - a childlike excitement, and a clear sense of joy. He loves to play and it’s infectious - it’s hard not to feel good watching him do it.

Here he talks about his band New Jawn and their most recent release Prime, as well as his project The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons, which was released on vinyl recently, what makes a great music city, leading by example, what it means to live the life you believe in, and why he went “kicking and screaming” into playing the acoustic bass as a boy.

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Leo Sidran is a Grammy winning multi-instrumentalist musician, producer, arranger, composer, recording artist and podcast host based in Brooklyn, New York.