About the Guest Artist
With Out Here, premier bassist Christian McBride’s fifth recording on Mack Avenue Records, McBride introduces his latest working group: a trio, fully embracing at age 41 his role as standard-bearer and mentor. Pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr.—both younger, emerging artists— have been performing with McBride’s smallest group for about three years, honing their trio conception to a fine point of expressive depth and nuance with select performances around the world. “It’s a pretty diversified trio,” says McBride descriptively. “The real core foundation is hardcore swingin,’ blues and the American songbook. Part of that is because Christian [Sands] is so well-rounded and willing to go to so many places, that I can’t help but want to swing hard with him and Ulysses.” McBride, however, thought he’d never helm a jazz trio. When he hit the jazz scene like a comet at age 17, McBride’s huge, woodsy sound and precocious agility invited comparisons to the legendary bassist Ray Brown. The late jazz bassist was not only renowned for performing on classic jazz dates with modern greats from the 1940s onward, but also for his central role in trios led by Oscar Peterson as well as his own stellar trio ensembles afterward. Once McBride recorded with Brown as a member of the early ’90s group Superbass, the association was bound to stick. He loved Brown as a mentor and father figure, but avoided leading a trio because of the inevitable comparisons. Helming a trio was the furthest thing from McBride’s mind—until an Inside Straight appearance in 2009 became a trio date due of the absence of saxophonist Steve Wilson and vibraphonist Warren Wolf. But instead of calling for replacements for two members of Inside Straight, he opted for expedience and played the gig with pianist Peter Martin and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. Out Here is McBride’s 11th recording as a leader. Since the early 1990s he has recorded on over 300 dates as a sideman. Aside from relatively recent travels with Pat Metheny; Chick Corea, Roy Haynes, John McLaughlin and Kenny Garrett; the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour – 55th Anniversary; and residencies and artistic leadership roles with organizations ranging from New York’s 92nd St. Y and Jazz House Kids to NJPAC, McBride has toured consistently for several years with his own quintet, Inside Straight. He also fronts the Christian McBride Big Band, whose Mack Avenue recording, The Good Feeling, won the GRAMMY® Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album in 2012—his third GRAMMY win overall.