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.
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.
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.