At a mere 39 years old, bassist Christian McBride has played on more records and at more shows than many people have heard. He has stood out in combos with jazz legends like Sonny Rollins and Chick Corea, accompanied pop stars like Sting and Queen Latifah, played in an upright bass trio with Ray Brown and John Clayton, and even slapped the bass for the late Mr. James Brown. I first heard Mr. McBride on a great 2001 album called The Philadelphia Experiment with fellow denizens of the City of Brotherly Love Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson of the Roots and classical/jazz pianist/composer Uri Caine.
The Good Feeling, released at the end of September, is McBride’s first album as leader of his own big band and features both his arrangements of some timeless standards and his own compositions. The track I chose to highlight here is “I Should Care,” a standard first published in 1944. McBride’s treatment of this melody showcases both his tasteful arranging and his expressive bass playing. The melody of “I Should Care” is already beautiful and emotional, but McBride’s choice to present it on bass with his own subtle rhythmic variations adds a playfulness to his interpretation. McBride’s arrangement then opens up to allow the wind section of his band to shine before he takes his own improvised solo, right before the full band restates the piece’s recognizable melody.
Pay attention to McBride’s walking doing the trumpet and sax solos in this piece. You’ll get an idea of his impeccable sense of rhythm, which explains why he is such a sought after accompanist and one of the best bassists alive.