Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Christian McBride Finds the Groove Again in His Latest Album, “Prime”

By Raina Douris, Kimberly Junod for NPR


When you hear a great jazz band perform, what you’re hearing is a connection between musicians. Players who are on the same wavelength — and even when one plays a solo or goes off in their own improvised direction — it’s all held together by the groove.

Christian McBride has spent his career laying down that groove as a jazz double bassist, appearing on innumerable recordings in a wide variety of genres, backing everyone from The Roots to Chaka Khan to Paul McCartney to James Brown. He’s also put out his own Grammy-winning albums.

His latest album, with his band Christian McBride’s New Jawn, is called Prime. It’s his second album with that group and his 18th as a band leader.

Christian joins us to talk about falling in love with jazz and how he thinks about leading a jazz band from the bass player’s position. You’ll also hear the band perform live — beginning with the mind-boggling opening track from Prime, “Head Bedlam.”