Monday, November 10, 2014

Christian McBride Band - 2000 "Sci-Fi"

Christian McBride Band - 2000 Sci-Fi

On a large scale, there is no denying that music can move masses of people to assert themselves and establish a particular vision that will benefit many for years to come. With the release of Sci-Fi, the highly acclaimed bassist Christian McBride has established another great realm of music for his fans to explore. Accompanied by the dynamic Ron Blake on tenor and soprano sax, Shedrick Mitchell on piano and Fender Rhodes, the great Herbie Hancock on piano, Rodney Green on drums, David Gilmore on electric and acoustic guitar, Dianne Reeves giving great vocalese on "Lullaby for a Ladybug," James Carter on bass clarinet, and the exciting Toots Thielemans on harmonica, listeners will soon discover that the jazz galaxy will never be the same. The acoustic fusion and thematic sound concept for the CD settled in after McBride wrote "Science Fiction" and discovered it made a great nucleus for the CD. Featured selections include McBride's brilliant arrangements of masterworks by Stanley Clarke, Sting, Jaco Pastorius, and Steely Dan as well as seven original compositions by the versatile leader. Flawless piano grace from Herbie Hancock on "Xerxes" and "Lullaby for a Ladybug" and McBride's Fender Rhodes work throughout is a listen to behold. Particularly, the conversation between McBride's double bass and Carter's bass clarinet on "Walking on the Moon" shouldn't be missed. Sci-Fi is a seminal work by seminal artists and may very well be considered one of the most essential jazz recordings of the 21st century.

Like many of his post-Motown bop contemporaries, bassist Christian McBride steadily reconciles pop, soul and jazz-fusion with today's bebop paradigm. On his latest venture, McBride picks up where 1998's A Family Affair left off-a big nod to '70s music. But this time the results are more even, with a more unified sound. That's mainly because McBride chose more durable pop for Sci-Fi (Steely Dan's "Aja" and Sting's "Walking on the Moon") and showcases more of his own burgeoning composition talents.
As the title suggests, the album has a questing quality that's sometimes expressed in the longing melodies of Ron Blake's tenor saxophone on "Aja," Dianne Reeves' celestial vocalese on "Lullaby for a Ladybug" or drummer Rodney Green's rocketing rhythmic bursts on "Xerxes." McBride's robust acoustic bass alone could propel any ensemble to the stratosphere, but on Sci-Fi he adds even more ammunition to his arsenal: he plays discreet Fender Rhodes as a complement to Shedrick Mitchell's acoustic piano. On the Wayne Shorterish title track, McBride tosses in some spacey keyboard effects, while Blake's adventurous soprano saxophone probes right through the spacious composition, like the Enterprise warping through galactic wormholes.
McBride pays tribute to two of his electric-bass heroes, Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke, with "Havana" and "Butterfly Dreams," respectively, and gives a mighty pound to the '70s fusion with the infectious "Via Mwandishi," which features James Carter's bass clarinet recalling Bennie Maupin, one of the instrument's underrated players.
McBride restrains from using too many electronic effects to get that Dr. Who vibe going. Even when he opts for the electric bass, as on "Walking on the Moon" and "Science Fiction," it's done tastefully. His bubbling conversation with Carter's bass clarinet towards the end of "Walking on the Moon" is McBride's most emotionally alluring electric bass playing on record to date.

Track listing
No.     Title     Length    
1.     "Aja (Fagan, Becker) 6:46"       6:46
2.     "Uhura's Moment Returned (McBride)"       6:18
3.     "Xerxes (McBride)"       7:56
4.     "Lullaby For a Ladybug (McBride)"       7:28
5.     "Science Fiction (McBride)"       6:50
6.     "Walking On The Moon (Sting)"       6:43
7.     "Havona (Jaco Pastorius)"       7:12
8.     "I'll Guess i'll Have To Forget (McBride)"       6:10
9.     "Butterfly Dreams (Stanley Clarke)"       6:43
10.     "Via Mwandishi (McBride)"       8:02
11.     "The Sci-fi Outro (McBride)"       1:13

    Christian McBride – Bass (Upright, Electric), Keyboards
    Ron Blake - Sax (Tenor, Soprano)
    Shedrick Mitchell – Piano, Electric Piano
    Rodney Green – Drums
    Herbie Hancock – Piano (on "Xerxes" and "Lullaby For a Ladybug")
    Dianne Reeves – Vocalese (on "Lullaby For a Ladybug")
    Toots Thielemans – Harmonica
    James Carter – Bass Clarinet
    David Gilmore – Guitar (Acoustic, Electric)

1 comment: