Christian McBride

From17 January 2019to12 April 2019

Christian McBride

Ever heard of a “double double bass”? No? Me neither. That was until I had the pleasure of experiencing two of the greatest living artistes of the double bass play at the packed Komedia deep in the famous Lanes of Brighton. Jazz man – soon to be labelled jazz great – Christian McBride and folk/bluegrass master Edgar Meyer joined their considerable forces for a night of joy and artistry by the Seaside.

The truth is that it was really Christian McBride who I had come to see. I’m a long time fan and, to be honest, I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t going to see him in his now familiar excellent trio setting. When I realised that the person he was going to play with, Edgar Meyer, was a bluegrass master I consoled myself with the thought that my wife Kate would be very happy having a real affection for that music that I, as yet, have never fully acquired.

What happened next, after we bagged front table seats where it was physically impossible to be nearer to the performers without joining in, was sheer magic. Anyone subjected to me droning on about the best music gigs I’ve ever seen will possibly recall me praising a performance of jazz legend Sonny Rollins at the Umbria Jazz Festival, the maestro Yo Yo Ma entering a trance like state playing his cello in London and sitting in box seats with Kate at the famous Apollo in Harlem when the brilliant Lizz Wright made me cry and the other performances left me breathless. McBride and Meyer will now be added to the very select list that I will, no doubt, endlessly bore people with.

As I’ve already said I’m a fan of McBride, but I’m not generally a strings man – with the exception of the superb Esperanza Spalding. That’s likely to change after watching at close quarters the skill and artistry of these two amazing performers. Each musician, as the very best, seem to do, just became one with their instruments.

The interplay between McBride and Meyer, especially the effortless way that they swopped lead roles mid tune was something to behold. I’ve never seen such a thing even in jazz gigs where band interplay and improvisation is the order of the day.

McBride has a funky deep jazz feel to his playing that clearly flows from his days backing The Godfather James Brown. He shows a real passion for his instrument that washes over his audience. Meyer, no less passionate than McBride, and certainly no less skilful, played his double bass with his whole body. It seemed at times that the swaying movement of his body was the principle mechanism by which his fingers glided effortlessly up and down his double bass.

There are lots of things I don’t know and there are a few things I’m certain of. I’m certain that no matter how bad my football team Aston Villa get that we will always be better than the lot from Small Heath. I’m certain that bears do in fact shit in the woods. I’m also certain that McBride and Meyer should record an album together and go back on tour to play it. I’m also certain that if there are any better double bass players than these two then I’m going to see them! Wherever they are in the World. Like Kate – I have a credit card and I’m not afraid to use it!

Thursday 17 January 2019

Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY, US


Friday 12 April 2019

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark, NJ, US


December 3, 2018 in