“Half an Hour of Musical Madness”

Jazz Series 2015, an event enjoyed by all generations, concluded with the impressive Christian McBride Trio. As well as local artists, the Tbilisi event had showcased some foreign talents including the Kenny Garrett Quintet, Wallace Roney Group with the first performance for Tbilisi and Jeff Lorber Fusion.

For jazz enthusiasts, organizers Eastern Promotion will continue a year of top class jazz events with the Black Sea Jazz Festival in Batumi on July 23-26

This year’s event will see George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Liv Warfield & NPG HORNZ, Snoop Dogg and Giorgi Mikadze & NYC Groove Aliens Feat. Dj Raydar Ellis top the bill.

Meanwhile, presenter of Jazz Series, TV anchor Kakha Tolordava revealed the winners of a poster competition for the summer’s festival.. Two victors were chosen from 117 entries with second place going to Luka Jiqia, who gained the most likes on social media. Eastern Promotion rewarded him with 1000 Lari and two season tickets for the Black Sea Jazz Festival. First place went to Teona Valieva who won 2000 Lari and two season tickets awarded by a representative of TBC Bank whose product TBC Status is the official presenter of the jazz series.

Christian McBride, who enchanted Tbilisi crowds, says that acoustic bass is like a mother and an electro bass is like a restless child, who is more straightforward but lacks the wisdom of the former. He has fulfilled a number of very ambitious projects as a band leader, composer, instrumentalist, enlightener and curator. Lately, he has been performing in a trio.

Georgia Today spoke with Giorgi Kereselidze, Director of Eastern Promotion just before the show: “This is the classical trio. Christian McBride is a very required musician. It’s been two years already that this trio represents headliners of different international jazz festivals. They have jazz standards with their own improvisation, but their own music as well, as all big musicians. What they perform varies and largely depends on the audience.”

In his third visit to Tbilisi, McBride greeted the city and expressed his warmth to it at the beginning of the concert. He also mentioned that he has been touring all around the world for five years now. He introduced his two young colleagues – 29-year-old drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. and 21-year-old Christian Sands, who he called “a stylish pianist”.

At the dawn of his career, McBride was mentored by his father Lee Smith and Uncle Howard Cooper, who were famous bassists from Philadelphia. As a minor member of bands in his past, McBride managed to sell the largest quantity of records in his generation. He is justly known as a virtuoso.

During the concert, when the performance was in full swing, we spoke to Zurab Karumidze, Georgian writer and jazz lover, author of the novel “Jazz Blossoming” and documentary “Jazz Life”: “I have always liked Christian McBride. Earlier, in 2006, I listened to him in Saint Louis. He is a marvelous contrabassist with a significant technique and sound. Moreover, he has a nice pianist, a young man whom I have never listened to before tonight and a splendid drummer too. I am delighted. Within the last month, Tbilisi has hosted two great contrabassists – Ron Carter and Christian. We are witnessing an equal participation of three of them tonight – this is the trinity rather than a trio.”

They touched the very strings of the soul all evening and performed the most lyrical song of the whole soiree “The most Beautiful Girl in the World”, recorded on their current CD called “I have dreamed”. It was met with a stream of applause. This synergy between the audience and the performers is astonishing – with both expressing their gratitude.

“I am particularly fond of classical jazz, namely, Louis Armstrong. It is impossible to talk about jazz without emotions. I am overwhelmed tonight. Christian McBride is at the peak of his career at present. He is simultaneously reserved and perfect in expressive manner. As for his band members, they are rather young, but in spite of this fact, they give special features to the trio and make it more expressive and emotional, turning it into the musical madness that we have just witnessed. The trio is intellectual and conceptual, but it gives all members a possibility to express themselves to the full extent. Christian McBride is still a young musician for jazz, though he is 42 already. Therefore, I would say that I like him very much, but he is still like a young wine. Therefore, I prefer Ron carter at this stage. As you know, wine is the older the better. So, I think everything is ahead for McBride,” Alona Sinova from Batumi stated after enjoying the concert.

Maka Lomadze

28 May 2015 22:35