"Conversations with Christian” is the second album the jazz bass player has put out this year. The first was “The Good Feeling”, McBride’s first shot at a big band album, which focused on his star-packed band, and his arranging skills. The second album is way different.
McBride is in a one on one setting with musicians he think the world of. “Conversation with Christian” is the offspring of McBride’s satellite radio show of the same title. McBride interviewed bigwig musicians such as Sting, Dee Dee Bridgewater, George Duke and Dr. Billy Taylor.
This album is better than “The Good Feeling”. On that date,” McBride was happy putting the spotlight on his band members. Listeners got the chance to see McBride as an arranger. Not that McBride needed to prove himself.
No other jazz bass player on the planet understands his role more than McBride does. McBride is special and he’s been blessed with alien chops. That’s what listeners of “Conversations with Christian” get to hear firsthand.
The album displays McBride skills more than any of his other albums. My favorite track “On Conversations with Christian” is McBride’s session with Dee Dee Bridgewater. They have a lustful kind of magic. McBride and Bridgewater should consider making an album.
The only track on “Conversation with Christian” that comes up short is McBride session with trumpet player Roy Hargrove. They grew up in the same generation, and have endured the test of time, so you’d think chemistry would be a given. But the session is flat and a pimple on an otherwise smooth album.
In the one on one sessions McBride is relaxed and is having a swell time with his peers, letting the music happen naturally. There’s a lot of ad-libbing, but even that comes off as choreographed instead of hatched on the spot.