Christian McBride's New Jawn

Nov 28 - Dec 2


Sponsored by Friends of Jazz St. Louis Staff and Jon & Barbara Topp

Six-time GRAMMY®-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride can be likened to a force of nature, fusing the fire and fury of a virtuoso with the depth and grounding of a seasoned journeyman. Powered by a relentless energy and a boundless love of swing, McBride’s path has described a continuous positive arc since his arrival on the scene. With a career now blazing into its third decade, the Philadelphia native has become one of the most requested, most recorded, and most respected figures in the music world today.

Raised in a city steeped in soul, McBride moved to New York in 1989 to pursue classical studies at the Juilliard School. There he was promptly recruited to the road by saxophonist Bobby Watson. Call it a change in curriculum: a decade’s worth of study through hundreds of recording sessions and countless gigs with an ever-expanding circle of musicians. He was finding his voice, and others were learning to listen for it.

In 2000 the lessons of the road came together in the formation of what would become his longest-running project, the Christian McBride Band. Praised by writer Alan Leeds as “one of the most intoxicating, least predictable bands on the scene today,” the CMB—saxophonist Ron Blake, keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer, and drummer Terreon Gully—have been collectively evolving McBride’s all-inclusive, forward-thinking outlook on music through their incendiary live shows, as chronicled on 2006’s Live at Tonic. Part excursion, part education, the CMB is a vehicle built on a framework of experience and powered by unfettered creativity: a mesmerizing dance on the edge of an electro-acoustic fault line.

In 2009 McBride began focusing this same energy through a more traditional lens with the debut of his critically-acclaimed Inside Straight quintet, and again with the Christian McBride Big Band, whose 2012 release The Good Feeling won the GRAMMY for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album. As his career entered its third decade, McBride added the role of mentor, tapping rising stars pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. for the Christian McBride Trio’s GRAMMY-nominated album  Out Here.

He is also a respected educator and advocate, first noted in 1997 when he spoke on former President Bill Clinton’s town hall meeting “Racism in the Performing Arts.” He has since been named Artistic Director of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Sessions (2000), co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (2005), and the Second Creative Chair for Jazz of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (2005).

In 1998 he combined roles, composing “The Movement, Revisited,” a four-movement suite dedicated to four of the major figures of the civil rights movement: Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The piece was commissioned by the Portland (ME) Arts Society and the National Endowment for the Arts, and performed throughout New England in the fall of 1998 with McBride’s quartet and a 30-piece gospel choir. For its tenth anniversary, “The Movement, Revisited” was expanded, rewritten, and revamped to feature an 18-piece big band and four actors/speakers in addition to the gospel choir. It was performed in Los Angeles at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and praised by the Los Angeles Times as “a work that was admirable—to paraphrase Dr. King—for both the content of its music and the character of its message.”

Currently he hosts and produces “The Lowdown: Conversations With Christian” on SiriusXM satellite radio and National Public Radio’s “Jazz Night in America,” a weekly radio show and multimedia collaboration between WBGO, NPR and Jazz at Lincoln Center, showcasing outstanding live jazz from across the country. With his staggering body of work, McBride is the ideal host, drawing on history, experience, and a gift for storytelling to bridge the gap between artist, music, and audience. He brings that same breadth of experience to bear as Artistic Advisor for Jazz Programming at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).

Completing the circle is his work with Jazz House Kids, the nationally recognized community arts organization founded by his wife, vocalist Melissa Walker.  Exclusively dedicated to educating children through jazz, the “Jazz House” concept brings internationally renowned jazz performers to teach alongside a professional staff, offering students a wide range of creative programming that develops musical potential, enhances leadership skills, and strengthens academic performance. This shared celebration of America’s original musical art form cultivates tomorrow’s community leaders and global citizens while preserving its rich legacy for future generations.

Whether behind the bass or away from it, Christian McBride is always of the music. From jazz (Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, to R&B (Isaac Hayes, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Lalah Hathaway, and the one and only Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown) to pop/rock (Sting, Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Don Henley, Bruce Hornsby) to hip-hop/neo-soul (The Roots, D’Angelo, Queen Latifah) to classical  (Kathleen Battle, Edgar Meyer, Shanghai Quartet, Sonus Quartet), he is a luminary with one hand ever reaching for new heights, and the other extended in fellowship—and perhaps the hint of a challenge—inviting us to join him.

"When the bassist Christian McBride feels good about a groove, he savors it, exults in it."

"McBride has settled comfortably into his role as his generation’s foremost practitioner of his instrument."

"Christian McBride, has been one of the most important and most omnipresent figures in the jazz world for 20 years."

Upcoming Shows

JUL. 19 - 20
Celebrating George Benson
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Long before George Benson became a household name with hits like “Give Me the Night” and “Turn Your Love Around” he was admired as one of the premier guitarists in jazz.  This salute to Benson’s iconic career reaches back to include everything from the classic grooves he laid down with his early organ-based quartet that featured Dr. Lonnie Smith to his breakthrough album Breezin’ and onward to the contemporary sounds that garnered him Grammy Awards in not just jazz but R&B and pop as well.  Montez Coleman (drums) leads an all-star group of St. Louis’s finest including Eric Slaughter & Matt Sewell (guitars), Adaron “Pops” Jackson (keyboards), and Bob DeBoo (bass).


JUL. 26-27
Good 4 The Soul
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This explosive four-piece outfit—led by John King on bass, with James Jackson on drums, Shaun Robinson on guitar, and Adaron “Pops” Jackson on keys—draws upon jazz, funk, fusion, gospel, and R&B repertoires to deliver a powerful and unapologetic sound that excites and thrills audiences. When this band hits the stage, there are no boundaries. The only guarantee is a night of world-class music that is Good 4 the Soul.


AUG. 2-3
Brother’s Lazaroff
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Brothers Lazaroff will release their eighth full-length album “Sisters And Brothers” with a weekend of performances at the illustrious Jazz STL/Jazz at the Bistro August 2nd and 3rd. Their first release of new music in two and half years, Brothers Lazaroff teamed up with frequent collaborators and bandmates Sam Golden and Andrew Warsheur (DJ Boogieman) in producing the new collection of songs. This will be the fourth year Brothers Lazaroff has taken to the Jazz STL stage, reinterpreting parts of their original Americana and Roots catalog, as well as pulling from their more jazz-centric material. “Sisters And Brothers” is heavily influenced by these performances at Jazz STL, as what began as an experiment dubbed “Laz Jazz” has lead the band towards a more dynamic, Jazz-inspired sound in their regular performances. The new album tries to find the place where roots-rock, soul, and jazz converge, augmented by lush experimental horn arrangements by co-producer and multi-instrumentalist Sam Golden. With the rhythm section of Grover Stewart on drums and Teddy Brookins on bass for the past thirteen years, Sam Golden on keys and Mark Hochberg on violin, Brothers Lazaroff looked to their extended musical family to flush out this new set of ten songs; Chris Hansen on percussion, Adam Hucke on trumpet, and Ben Reece on sax and flute, as well as Anita Jackson on background vocals. The whole family looks forward to playing from the album and back catalog over two nights and four sets and the world class Jazz STL/Jazz at the Bistro!  


AUG. 9-10
Emily Wallace w/ The Adam Maness Trio

Other Events You Might Enjoy

OCT- NOV 31-4

Stefon Harris & Blackout

JAN 30 - FEB 3

Bistro All-Stars


Jazz St. Louis is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to lead our community in advancing the uniquely American art of jazz through live performance, education and community engagement.


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