Vertical Vision

COMPOSERS: Christian Mcbride Band
LABELS: Warner Jazz
CATALOGUE NO: 9362-48278-2


From the LP era onwards, the task of documenting jazz on record has often fallen to so-called independent labels. The grand marques of Blue Note, Verve and Pacific Jazz may be under major-label jurisdiction now, but they started out as indies, and today the bulk of jazz recording is done under the auspices of the hundreds of entrepreneurs who went into the business primarily because they loved the music.

At least there is some worthwhile jazz activity going on at the major labels, for all their downsizing and caution in recording what is still a very economical kind of music. Bassist CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE, something of a hero in his generation of American jazz, has moved to Warner after being dumped by Verve. Vertical Vision is all sharp corners and electrical finesse.

McBride’s group is a cherry-picked line-up from the many players with whom he has performed: Geoff Keezer (keyboards), Ron Blake (saxes), David Gilmore (guitar) and the superb Terreon Gully (drums) make up a compact, seething combo which exploits the compositions for maximum impact, rather than opening them out into long-winded solos.


It’s fusion cut back to gritty but brilliantly illuminated basics, and the sort of disc that McBride has been threatening to pull off for some time.