Christian McBride makes his return with Inside Straight today with the release of People Music. The album comes nearly four years after the group’s debut, Kind of Brown.
The new album finds the quintet in hard-swing mode, delivering what they call “more road-tested, ‘lived-in’ Inside Straight” in an accessible way, and one that makes the audience part of the experience.
“People Music is my personal mantra as a musician,” McBride shares. “Sometimes jazz musicians can get too caught up in their own heads; they get so serious and so caught up in their creativity that they’re not bringing the people in. So I figure the best way to communicate is to let the people navigate where you should go. When you pull the people in, you can go anywhere as long as they feel like they’re a part of the ride. That’s why Cannonball Adderley was always my hero—he always exemplified high artistry, but no matter how esoteric or abstract it could get, he still related to people. And I’ve always felt that this band plays ‘people music’.”
The album features eight original tunes, half of which were written by McBride. Six are performed by the core group: McBride, saxophonist Steve Wilson, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, pianist Peter Martin and drummer Carl Allen. The other two were recorded by a slightly different lineup, with pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. taking over their respective duties. Both Sands and Owens are part of McBride’s new trio, which will make their own recording debut later this year.
Among the tracks is McBride’s own “New Hope’s Angel,” a song he composed when Whitney Houston passed away.
“There have been some untimely deaths in the music world over the last few years, but Houston’s death really shook me up. As far as I’m concerned, she was one of the last great titans, somebody whose voice transcends genre. She had one of those voices where opera singers loved her, jazz singers loved her, pop singers loved her, country singers loved her. They knew that unmistakable sound, and it’s a shame that it had to be extinguished at such a young age.”
McBride continues the “people music” theme with a desire to undo the “unwritten contention that somehow swinging and imagination are mutually exclusive. I find this band very imaginative and very swinging. I like coming off the stage having broken a sweat. Inside Straight is something of a release for all of the members, because we get to come together and really play some swinging music. It’s become a classic car—a ’69 Lincoln Continental.”
People Music Track List:
- Listen To The Heroes Cry
- Fair Hope Theme
- Gang Gang
- Ms. Angelou
- The Movement, Revisited
- Unusual Suspects
- Dream Train
- New Hopes Angel