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Catching Up with Christian McBride

Christian McBride is a sensational bassist, exceptional bandleader and champion of the music, and Blue Note at Sea is honored to have him join the cruise’s superstar lineup in 2023. Christian’s deft musicianship, warm showmanship and infectious personality will permeate the Celebrity Millennium, from both on and off the bandstand.

And, of course, he will fit right in with the stellar lineup, which includes Marcus MillerRobert GlasperChris BottiSheila E., Cecile McLorin SalvantDavid Sanborn, Brad Mehldau and many others.

Most jazz fans know Christian as the supremely talented acoustic bassist who has been on the forefront of the mainstream jazz scene since the ’80s, having been mentored by the likes of Ray Brown, Freddie Hubbardand Wynton Marsalis. But we shouldn’t overlook Christian’s lifelong affinity for contemporary jazz, funk, R&B and soul. After all, Christian is a guy who has backed James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Queen Latifah, to name just a few. He’s just as comfortable sitting in with Questlove and The Roots as he is with a piano trio or big band.

Beyond being supremely versatile Christian’s love and respect for jazz is his lasting trademark. That’s why we are thrilled to have him performing on Blue Note at Sea ’23. He even took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions, like what made him realize that being the storyteller of jazz was one of his many talents?

Q: Being one of the great ambassadors of jazz in the world, how does Blue Note at Sea stack up with other major jazz events?

Well, I love the Blue Note organization. Playing at the venue in New York is something I always look forward to. Being able to play with other jazz greats and that Blue Note audience on the cruise is very fun.

Q: Your ability to assemble great musicians in numerous configurations is well known.  On Blue Note at Sea, you will be performing with your Inside Straight group.  What made you choose that format for the cruise?

We put out a new album last year, so we’re celebrating that! Inside Straight is no-holds-barred-swinging.

Q: Your love and respect for jazz may be your lasting trademark.  What made you realize that being the storyteller of jazz was part of your talents?

It’s in my upbringing. My mother was always the greatest storyteller and she gave me all of my storytelling skills. It’s important to me that storytelling traditions stay alive – to keep our imaginations vivid.

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