The month of June started well in Madrid with the visit of the Christian McBride Trio in a decently packed Teatro Lara. His trio with Christian Sands on piano and Ulysses Owens on drums has truly grown to a understanding and communicating unit, as their latest disc OUT THERE proves as well, but live this is something pretty amazing now: from a cheeky version of Caravan, in which Sands deconstructs the tune only to drive it to places unusual and imaginary, to Down by the riverside and a groove version of the funk classic Car Wash, these guys are at home with all of it. McBride a powerful and inventive anchor, who performed some impressive soli on the night and seemingly enjoyed the creativity of his sidemen, especially Sands, who proved in style why he is one of the most talked about young pianists. Owens managed to keep up with these two masters very well and achieved that his various soli didn’t get boring – a feat for any drummer if you ask me. The repertoire of the night was either from Out There or the forthcoming live album by the Trio, which is supposed to come out in September and should be worth waiting for.
Quickly a few CDs I would like to recommend, as I hadn’t done so for a while now:
Jef Neve – ONE – the pianists first solo outing – spectacular! I always liked Jef’s European approach to jazz, his obvious classical influences and his writing, again amazing on this record, as well as his touch given to the covers on the album.
Samuel Blaser – Spring Rain – the Swiss trombonist’s tribute to Jimmy Giuffre is inventive, adventurous and full of respect. A young man to watch out for.
Beady Belle – Songs from a Decade – the Best of … is a collection of some great songs from all of the groups Jazzland releases … plus a wonderful bonus live disc .. Alone worth to go for this set!
Michael Gibbs & The NDR Big Band – play a Bill Frisell Set List – and Bill himself is the special guest, as well as Jeff Ballard on the drums. All arrangements are by Michael and he is conducting a NDR Big Band performing at its best – compositions by Frisell, Gil Evans, Monk, Benny Goodman, Lennon/McCartney and Lee Konitz, all done for Bill by the extraordinary musical mind of Gibbs and the result is truly captivating. The best big ensemble record you will get so far this year.