Christian Mcbride: New York Time

COMPOSERS: Christian Mcbride
LABELS: Chesky
ALBUM TITLE: Christian McBride
WORKS: New York Time
PERFORMER: Christian McBride (bass), Javon Jackson (saxophone), Jimmy Cobb (drums), Cedar Walton (piano)
Call me an old reactionary but I’m convinced that far too much recent jazz hasn’t actually added to the progress of the music at all. Instead, it’s devolved into a kind of jazz-lite, full of spark but short on substance. Fortunately, anyone sharing my suspicions and seeking an antidote to this malaise need look no further than this disc, which demonstrates that so-called mainstream remains a hotbed of creativity and featuring four musicians whose status makes this first excursion on CD for this quartet unmissable. Upbeat, optimistic, virtuosic yet sensitive, contemporary yet timeless, this is a fine distillation of the essence of small-group modern jazz, from McBride’s loping bass solo on the opening track to the sensitive handling of Coltrane’s ‘Naima’ and beyond. The no-trickery Chesky approach to recording is a vital component here, too, conveying all the vitality of the music as it occurred in the real world. Roger Thomas