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Christian McBride trio brings jazz to PCAC

Think jazz is dead? Think again. On Monday evening, Feb. 29, the Christian McBride Trio treated the audience at the PCAC to a virtuosic and entertaining blend of jazz, soul and funk.

Bassist Christian McBride, pianist Christian Sands and drummer Jerome Jennings received multiple standing ovations for their performances, which were highly challenging but fun at the same time.

“I met Christian Sands on a radio show. He was a guest on the NPR radio show Piano Jazz, which I was subbing for the host. At the time he must have been about 19,” said McBride. “I’ve just known Jerome Jennings from seeing him around for many, many years, but I saw him in a musical, and not only was he playing well but he was also a good actor.”

Jenning’s acting background was key for Christian McBride’s musical approach. It is important for McBride that his trio’s performances be both musical and entertaining.

“It’s very important for me to blend the two, because I do feel that jazz has sort of gotten a bad reputation as being sort of stuffy and too highly intellectual, where you have to be sort of a genius to understand it,” sayidMcBride. “And I’ve been trying to help change the reputation of that.

McBride explained that musicianship runs in his family. “My father and my great uncle were both bass players as well. So it’s a family tradition.”

The list of musicians he has performed with is equally as impressive as his musical skills. “Famous is relative, but I’ll name you some good musicians I’ve played with. Herbie Hancock would be one, Chick Corea would be another, and so would Sting,” he says. However, McBride is most proud of having been able to play with his hero, James Brown.

“I played with him in 1997 for the first time, and again in 2006 just before he passed away,” said McBride.

The Monday night performance was the first time the Christian McBride Trio had performed at UNH. Prior to this, the trio had performed at Plymouth State University.

However, don’t expect McBride to be returning to UNH any time soon, as he is a very busy musician.

“I’ve got about three CDs in the can awaiting a release, about three different world tours I’m going on with three different bands, and I’ve also got my NPR radio show Jazz Night in America and my Sirius XM radio show called The Lowdown,” explained McBride.

If UNH students enjoyed what they saw and heard, they should be sure to check out to learn more about the group and their music.

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