Christian McBride – Vertical Vision
(Warner – 2003)
by Paula Edelstein
The celebrated jazz educator, master bassist, composer and arranger, Christian McBride gives us a new recording, told in a language of blazing originality. Vertical Vision is a multi-layered musical story that features beautiful solos, great grooves, funky riffs and virtuosic performances by each band member. The CD also reveals McBride’s passion for strong writing, brilliant accompaniment and eclectic melodic voicings that stay with listeners long after the record is over. On this, his debut for Warner Brothers Jazz, McBride creates a dazzling weave of passionate rhythms, musical forms and bass voicings with his long-time band mate Ron Blake on saxophones and flute. Geoffrey Keezer on piano and keyboards, Terreon Gully on drums, David Gilmore on acoustic and electric guitar and Danny Sadownick on percussion add their flavorful interpretations, which elevate each performance to another level at every subsequent listen.
The songs were inspired by and reflect a variety of subjects including the beautiful original Song For Maya which is played superbly by the ensemble and features the splendid flute work of Ron Blake. It is the most beautiful of all and the one that makes its way, like the family it has come to represent, into your heart. Lejos De Usted — which is filled with beautiful horn voices and the vertical visions of McBride on acoustic bass– is overflowing with Latin nuance and it is there, melding the borders between jazz and Latin rhythms. Top picks: Technicolor Nightmare, Tahitian Pearl, Song For Maya and Boogie Woogie Waltz. Overall, Vertical Vision is beautiful, spirited and brimming with energy.