Review: Christian McBride & Inside Straight "People Music"

Through his sax-and-vibes straightahead quintet, Inside Straight, Christian McBride has worked hard to draw in and connect with audiences not attuned to jazz— especially live, via his infectious personality, passion, and stage presence.
By Chris Jisi ,

Through his sax-and-vibes straightahead quintet, Inside Straight, Christian McBride has worked hard to draw in and connect with audiences not attuned to jazz— especially live, via his infectious personality, passion, and stage presence. On the group’s sophomore effort, titled for its mantra, the concept continues, while the music remains pure post-bop. “Listen to Heroes Cry” boasts a memorable spiritual strain over modal medium swing; “Gang Gang,” by vibist Warren Wolf Jr., interjects classical elements into its 12/8 bounce, à la the Modern Jazz Quartet; and McBride’s Whitney Houston- dedicated “New Hope’s Angel” is introspective while maintaining a funky pop backbeat. Throughout, Christian leads with strong support and engaging solos; he is, after all, on a mission.