Mid-Week Intermission Artist Edition: Christian McBride

If you’re already looking forward to a post-SXSW cool-down, we have just the ticket — enter the cool jazz sounds of Christian McBride, headed to the Long Center March 25th with his New Jawn ensemble. A jazz legend by trade and whizz on the double bass, we got to sit down with Christian for a brief moment during his whirlwind European tour to check in ahead of his Austin appearance. Read on in this Mid-Week Intermssion for a brief peek behind the tour van door.

If you’re already sold 👉 You can still snag a few tickets to see Christian McBride’s New Jawn on March 25th with Austin locals Brannen Temple Express. We recommend.

Christian, a tall black man in a gray suit, leans against a wall and smiles as he stands with his double bass

From coast to coast, Christian McBride is the voice and sound of jazz in America — literally, he hosts NPR’s Jazz Night in America — just check out this curated list from the show of the latest and best jazz out there right now. He frequently tours across the globe, including with his quartet, New Jawn, and winning a host of GRAMMY Awards along the way.

Powered by a relentless energy and a boundless love of swing, McBride’s path has described a continuous positive arc since his arrival on the scene. With a career now blazing into its third decade, the Philadelphia native has become one of the most requested, most recorded, and most respected figures in the music world today. You’re gonna understand why really soon.

So let’s get into it!

Long Center: So tell us a little bit about how you’ve handled the chaos of the last year. How have you stayed creative?

Christian: Even though the pandemic was a long, difficult, and sometimes scary time full of unkowns, on the other hand, having time off the road actually gave me more space to be creative, etc. 

I was able to spend more time with my wife Melissa, and our dogs, and event spent some time cooking! Aside from some pivoting to Zoom (like the rest of the world) on projects like recording episodes of my SiriusXM show (The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian) remotely rather than in person, it fortunately did not affect things too much.

Long Center: Well we’re incredibly excited to have you on stage at the end of the month. What’s it been like to tour again? How have the members of the New Jawn stayed connected to each other and to listeners?

Christian:  The time off was nice, but it’s great to be on tour again see so many friends. My band, New Jawn (that’s Marcus Strickland, Josh Evans, and Nasheet Waits) did actually play together a few times during the pandemic — at the Village Vanguard (a livestream with no audience) and a similar livestream taping for Celebrity Series in Boston. So we were grateful for that.

Christian in suit, tie, and hat, strolls down a street with a pipe.
Quick Aside:

Brannen Temple is a 3X Gammy Award-winning drummer and Austin native, who is best known as a drummer for acts like Eric Burdon, Robben Ford, Lizz Wright, Eric Johnson, Ruthie Foster and more.

He leads his modern jazz/soul band Brannen Temple Express, which features trombonist Andre Hayward (Duke Ellington Band), pianist Dayne Reliford (Hannibal Lokumbe), saxophonist LaQuin Lay (DJ Beverly Bond), bassist D-Madness (Tribal Nation) and percussionist Mikel Urdy (Marc Broussard).

Long Center: Okay Christian, we have to ask… any new projects or albums in the works that you can share with us?

Christian: New Jawn recently went into the studio, as well, to record some new tunes… so stay tuned!

Long Center: As we keep getting back out there and safely host events and shows again, we’re encouraging all of our readers to give into their curiosity and discover something new.

What have you been curious about? 

Christian: I tend to stay curious about everything, all the time. I read a lot, try to go to museums, and want to always keep my brain active.

Curiosity expands your intelligence. I’d like to think that I make multiple discoveries every day, but I most recently discovered T25 workout videos while on the road… it’s serious!!!

Long Center: For those who are into jazz but may not know where to start, any recommended artists for newcomers to explore?

Christian: The go-to is always Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. It’s the perfect album.

Long Center: What can our concert goers expect from your show on March 25th? What do you hope they take home with them from the experience?

Christian: I no longer have any wishes for the audiences to take home a particular feeling. However the music makes them feel, it’s how they feel. I just hope they’re going to be curious, and listen with open ears and an open heart.

Christian wears a super cool maroon blazer as he poses with his hat


At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

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