Out Here (Mack Avenue Records; 2013)
Christian Sands (piano)
Ulysses Owens (drums)
Christian McBride has stretched both ends of the jazz spectrum in his almost two decade career as leader. He's released a string of beautiful hard bop albums coupled with an exploration in more funk/fusion outings. Both experiences are exemplary. On his latest, Out Here (his second album this year), he has bit of a return to form. A trio session that shines with vibrancy and youthfulness.
"I Guess I'll Have To Forget" provides the glowing confidence McBride has in his bandmates. The gentle and uplifting tone Sands takes is accompanied by the infectious timing exuded by McBride and Owens; a lovely number which is matched superbly on the next piece "Easy Walker." "Easy Walker" starts in a gospel/blues tone and slowly rides it's way upward with some hauntingly funky plucking from McBride.
The happiness and youthfulness I referred to is presented in the sweet rhythms of "Who's Making Love." It's the funky, fusion, rocked up by McBride from recent history but filled with a hard bop joy that I haven't heard in awhile. And I swear there's an element of Queen's "Another Bites The Dust" in there somewhere.
The killer piece during this session is obviously McBride's rendition of "My Favourite Things." It's thoughtful and well structured. Sand's performance is sublime. McBride's arrangement favours Sands and Owens. He allows them both freedom to extend the notes and create some patterns that turn this into more than just the usual standards cover.
Out Here sets a brilliant and compassionate tone that lets the listener slowly develop and become enveloped in sound, vision and lyrical tones. An excellent outing from one of the best veteran bassists on American jazz scene today--Christian McBride.