(Mack Avenue MAC 1069)
The double bass player has the young Christian Sands on piano and Ulysses Owens Jr. on drums, and a tasty mix of originals and standards in the book.
Hallelujah Time is one of those standards, from the pen of Oscar Peterson, and its title pretty well sums up the mood and energy of the whole album – buoyant, filled with soul and celebration of life and music, and with some nifty time-keeping to boot.
Ham Hocks And Cabbage is a new tune but has a timeless feel, with a swiftly articulated blues melody, first played by McBride and then by McBride and Sands in tandem. Sands quickly digs in to his dinner with a rocking, rolling solo, full of all those blues cliches sounding freshly minted (can you have mint with ham?) and both McBride and Owens show themselves healthy eaters, too.
McBride’s I Guess I’ll Have To Forget is a gentle, dappled stroll, and it’s nice to hear a Dr Billy Taylor tune that isn’t I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (more commonly known as the BBC’s Film Programme theme). This one is another stroll, the aptly named Easy Walker.
The way this band is anchored in the tradition and yet still is able to make it sound new, is amply demonstrated by their reading of My Favourite Things. It’s freed from the Coltrane shackles by switching it into 5/4 and then feeding it full of warm sonorities. East Of The Sun gets an equally bright reading, with McBride showing just how vocal his double bass can be – the man is a marvel.
You want fast, try Cherokee, you want languid, take I Have Dreamed with gorgeous arco bass melody, and if you want funky, there’s the closer, Who’s Making Love (though that bass line is a little too close to Another One Bites The Dust for comfort).
Cooking all the way.
Categories: CD review