Christian McBride’s New Jawn opens Jazz at the Logan’s Sixth Season
On the heels of its first album together, McBride’s newest project performs in Chicago for the first time.
CHICAGO – At just 46 years old, six-time GRAMMY®-winning bassist Christian McBride may be one of the most accomplished jazz musicians on the stage today. An in-demand sideman and acclaimed bandleader, McBride brings his newest project, New Jawn, to open the sixth season of UChicago Presents’ Jazz at the Logan series on Friday, November 2 at 7:30 pm.
FRIDAY / NOVEMBER 2 / 7:30 PM / LOGAN CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Christian McBride’s New Jawn:
Josh Evans, trumpet Marcus Strickland, saxophone Christian McBride, bass Nasheet Waits, drums
LOCATIONS Logan Center for the Arts, 915 East 60th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637
TICKETS $38 | $20 under 35 | $10 students Call 773.702.ARTS (773.702.2787) or visit tickets.uchicago.edu
BOX OFFICE UChicago Arts Box Office, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 East 60th Street Regular hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 12 pm-6 pm and through concert intermission; 1-4 pm on concert Sundays.
Concert information online at chicagopresents.uchicago.edu
Reaching into its third decade, McBride’s career has seen him as performer, educator, broadcaster, and artistic director. Moving to New York City as a 17-year-old in 1989, the Philadelphia native was quickly absorbed into the New York jazz scene and swiftly became the first-call bassist for artists from Diana Krall to Sting. He got his education in the early nineties playing with the great band leaders at the time, including Bobby Watson, Frank Hubbard, J. J. Johnson and Frank Jones, and he went on to lead a number of his own projects including the Inside Straight Quintet, Christian McBride Trio, and Christian McBride Big Band. Alongside his performing, McBride’s appointments as Creative Chair for Jazz with the LA Phil and Artistic Director for the Newport Jazz Festival, and his role as host of NPR’s Jazz Night in America, have given him an encyclopedic view of jazz today and a discerning curatorial eye. With this perspective, McBride formed his newest ensemble New Jawn.
Taking its name from a piece of distinctly Philadelphian slang, New Jawn is a uniquely piano-less quartet. McBride, on bass, is joined by Josh Evans (trumpet), Marcus Strickland (saxophone), and Nasheet Waits (drums). Though the four have not performed together before, the lineup fulfills McBride’s perpetual aim to play with new people and to promote young talent.
University of Chicago Presents Drummer Nasheet Waits has been in McBride’s orbit the longest (the two first met in the mid-nineties), but they had never collaborated until New Jawn. McBride has long admired Waits’ playing, however, calling his creativity on the drums beyond equal. Trumpeter Josh Evans is the youngest of the four, but he brings a depth of knowledge and a fresh and creative sound to his instrument, making him a “wonderful new voice of the trumpet” by McBride’s estimation. The second horn player in the group, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, was a natural call for McBride, who has known and loved Strickland’s playing from his substitute work in the bandleader’s older projects.
The quartet’s performance on November 2 is its first performance in Chicago, and it will follow the release of the group’s first album on October 26. (An early release track, “Middle Man,” is available on Amazon Music and Apple Music.) . Before New Jawn’s performance, audiences can hear local ensemble the Constantine Alexander Quintet in a free performance at 6 pm in Café Logan, part of the Chicago Stage at the Logan series, presented in partnership with the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
ABOUT CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE 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).
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, to R&B, to pop/rock, to hip-hop/neo-soul, to classical, 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.
Visit Christian's Website
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