Christian McBride – Edgar Meyer: But Who’s Gonna Play The Melody?

Mack Avenue Records – Street Date March 22th 2024
Christian McBride - Edgar Meyer: But Who’s Gonna Play The Melody?

With Christian McBride, humor is always somewhere, here in the title itself, But Who’s Gonna Play The Melody? Just to announce that we are going to witness a game of musical hide and seek between the two bassists. Who is who? Who is who? That is the question, and the answer is… It doesn’t matter given the enjoyment this album provides. “As a bassist, it’s such a pleasure when you stand next to one of the greatest bassists who ever lived,” says McBride, returning the compliment. “It’s the kind of pressure that encourages you to spend more time in the music room. I guess that’s how other basketball players felt facing M.J. or Kobe.”
Certainly, the most striking aspect is the quality of listening between the two musicians. One can sense how each steps into the other’s musical offerings. “Edgar and I come from two different worlds,” explains McBride. “I come from the realms of jazz and R&B with a bit of classical, and he comes from the worlds of bluegrass and classical with a bit of jazz. With this album, we meet in uncharted territory. So the first question was, what are we playing?”
McBride and Meyer were initially introduced by their common mentor, the legendary jazz bassist Ray Brown. It took nearly a decade before they shared a stage together in 2007 under the auspices of Jazz Aspen Snowmass, a Colorado-based nonprofit organization dedicated to jazz performance and education. The two quickly discovered that the common ground between their disparate backgrounds was a solid foundation in the blues. “The center of our connection lies in earthy and funky things rooted in a blues dimension,” says Meyer. “Then it expands from there.”
This album clearly rests on these lines, with each musician seeking their sources within themselves with exemplary complementarity. McBride is the foremost bassist of modern jazz, a deeply respected player, conductor, composer, and educator who combines solo play of dizzying agility with an endless groove that makes any group great, from funk to swing and beyond. Meyer is a revered artist in the classical music field, capable of conveying stunning emotion to the most beautiful and complex compositions, while also being a fervent and deeply rooted bluegrass musician. Put the two on the same stage, and there’s hardly a need for any other instrument.
From my point of view, But Who’s Gonna Play The Melody? is an exemplary, even indispensable album, serving both musicology students and lovers of beautiful music, as it defies classification with a perfectly executed dive into so-called “classical” music. While I may know little about the double bassist Edgar Meyer, as for Christian McBride, I have long known how vast and borderless his cultural knowledge is. Christian McBride is certainly my favorite bassist for several reasons, those I have just mentioned, but also his ability to convey a certain original form of jazz while applying his modern vision to it. It’s an album you can hear, of course, on Bayou Blue Radio… where Christian McBride is one of the most frequently played artists.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, March 6th 2024


To buy this album

Christian McBride’s Website

Edgar Meyer’s Website