Stormy Mondays: ‘Cuz It’s Stormy Somewhere

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to catch a rare one-off performance by the Christian McBride Band at the Miller Theater at Columbia University. The night opened with the quartet silhouetted, totally still, against a crimson backdrop as samples of civil rights speeches buzzed in the foreground. At some point McBride began to work the strings of his upright bass, his sound still buried under the din of voices, and then we were off on an outrageous journey into the headiest of jazz.


The night climaxed with a handful of special guests, including Soulive guitarist and general sit-in cat around town, Eric Krasno; Europe’s foremost harp blower, Gregoire Maret; and, the star of the night, poet Amiri Baraka (incidentally, check out the Baraka piece on the Coltrane Stormy Monday from New Year’s Day). A little old man, he scrambled up to the stage from the audience, all hunched over and demure until he began to speak — then he lost twenty years and grew in stature as his voice boomed out, “Play dat! Yeah, yeah, play dat!”

With that stellar night in mind, this week I give you a complete set from the Christian McBride Band in England in 2002. The recording is stupendous, and the music soars almost immediately with “EGAD.” The cover of Weather Report’s “Havona” is the highlight (a piece they also played at Columbia), although “Walking on the Moon” ain’t half bad either. Enjoy!

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