The Good Feeling is Christian McBride’s big band debut project for Mack Avenue Records and it’s a keeper. The programming is as well mixed as a great martini and includes tasteful renditions of three great songs sung by Christian’s wife, vocalist Melissa Walker. Theirs is a revelatory collaboration that refines her sultry take on “When I Fall In Love,” hits its maker’s mark on “The More I See You,” and feels just as heartfelt as the original rendition of “A Taste of Honey.” This exceptional recording also features McBride’s re-arrangements of previously released songs including “Brother Mister,” (from Kind of Brown) “The Shade of the Cedar Tree,” “In A Hurry,” (from Getting’ To It) and “Science Fiction” (from Sci-Fi) as well as evolved readings of “Broadway,” and “I Should Care.”
McBride gets straight down to business on “Shake and Blake,” a song written for long-time band mate/collaborator saxophonist Ron Blake. With a limitless variety of high and low brass soloing, the listener can immediately hear the sense of sustained momentum and immaculate execution of McBride’s arrangements. He takes a bass solo that is followed by a full orchestral tutti that will have you swinging to the beat and before you realize it, you’re languishing to another great solo on “Broadway.” This song conjures up the great Duke Ellington and like Ellington, McBride is a can-do musician who is driven by the urge to not just perform music but to create the contexts in which the experience of listening to it is most powerful.
“Bluesin’ In Alphabet City,” focuses mostly on McBride’s detailed explorations commissioned for the Jazz At Lincoln Center series back in 1995. As then, it still contains every color, timbre, and nuance that exists in the blues and features stellar trumpet solos and McBride’s exemplary bass soloing. Overall, you’ll be quite blown away by the end of this program which is 70 minutes of some of the best big band music of this century. This music will leave you with The Good Feeling.