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Christian McBride And Inside Straight headline Winterfest at St. Cecilia Music Center

Christian McBride And Inside Straight headline Winterfest at St. Cecilia Music Center

WGVU: Winterfest is a 3 night concert event curated by bassist Christian McBride Thursday through Saturday, February 24th, 25th and the 26th, at Saint Cecilia Music Center in downtown Grand Rapids. Each concert begins at 7.30pm. Christian will play bass duets with virtuoso Edgar Meyer on Thursday, singer Cyrille Aimee performs with the Christian McBride Trio on Friday.
And the final night is Christian McBride and Inside Straight.

I spoke with Christian McBride by phone about Winterfest and the final show with Inside Straight.

WGVU: You mentioned Inside Straight and your first recording was in 2009 with Kind Of Brown and each member us is really a leader in their own right. How did the group come together?

McBride: We came together in 2007 when I was really itching to return to the village Vanguard. You know, I hadn't played there in a very long time. I would say between between like the 1998 and 2007,you know, I hadn't played a lot of acoustic straight ahead. And I missed it. So I said I want to go back to the Village Vanguard. I thought that I should put together a band. that would be sort of Vanguard's specific. So I called Steve Wilson to play alto, Eric Reed to play piano and Carl Allen to play drums, you know, three cats that play the Vanguard regularly. You know, some of the greatest musicians in the world. And this young man who I met at a summer camp...hee was one of my students in Aspen, Colorado in the summer of 2000. And that was vibraphonist Warren Wolf. He was just so incredible...I don't know how I'm going to do this, but I've got to figure out a way we can play together. So it took 7 years, Warren was sort of the catalyst for me putting Inside Street together. And you're right, they're all band leaders. They're all very accomplished. Unfortunately, Eric didn't stay in the band very long because he had other commitments. But Peter Martin has pretty much been the pianist since that...you know Eric did the intital Vanguard gig and maybe a couple after that...and it's been Peter after that. So Peter's been my guy...we've worked a variety of settings over the years. Carl Allen and I go way back, playing in a lot of bands together, and Steve Wilson brings so much credibility to every band that he's played in. This has been my longest running band...

WGVU: That's what I thought.

McBride: So we played our first gig in 2007 and we recorded Kind Of Brown in 2008 and it came out in 2009. So yeah... I guess 14 years this band's been playing together. Wow!

WGVU: You've just released Live At The Village Vanguard with Inside Straight on Mack Avenue. You've released a variety of different material, different settings, with Mack Avenue... what can we expect in 2022?

McBride: My quartet, which is called the New Jawn, we're going to be recording in the next few months.
I'm also compiling some new duet recording for the Conversations With Christian album Volume 2...so there's a few things on the docket for 2022. I don't know what order they will be released, but there will be something coming out.

WGVU: Thank you very much for curating this Winterfest trio of concerts in Grand Rapids. We really appreciate it and look forward to them.

McBride: I made my first trip to Grand Rapids in the mid-nineties...I always kept in mind, people that booked me when my first CD came out. You know, this young guy Christian McBride might be somebody someday so let's book him. St. Cecilia booked my quartet in 1995 right when my first CD came out and I never that. So I've got a special love for St. Cecilia. And Cathy Holbrook, what she's done up there is just amazing...so...love you guys.

WGVU: Winterfest is February 24th through the 26th, Thursday through Saturday at Saint Cecilia Music Center in downtown Grand Rapids. Each concert begins at 07:30PM.