Seek The Source - Christian McBride

from the album Christian McBride's New Jawn (2018)

In western music, there are thirteen distinct notes which - over the span of several octaves - comprise the the musical spectrum.  When you consider the tens of thousands of song you will hear over a lifetime, that's not a whole lot of notes.

What I find most fascinating is what happens when musicians further limit the available notes by placing self-imposed rules on the notes they play.  Somehow, this manages to force the musicians to find expression through variations in their rhythms and feel, often creating distinct styles of music.

Latin music - like latin dance - is full of rules.  Do this and you have a tango.  Do that and you have a bossa nova.  Do something else and you have neither.  In rock music, you have heard countless lead guitarists and bassists play pentatonic (five-note) scales.

It is a paradox.  Addition by subtraction.

With his new band - New Jawn - jazz bassist Christian McBride puts together an ensemble comprised exclusively of non-chordal instruments.  No piano.  No guitar.  No chords.  Only single note instruments, like bass guitar and trumpet, playing in concert with percussion.

This framework drives the musicians to explore new ways of creating synergies.  They must play together.  They must travel outside convention to find a common vibe, groove, and feel.

It is fascinating to listen to.

On the song Seek The Source, I am captivated by the bass and drums.  There is so much music going here.  Pulsing bass solos.  Complex drum rhythms.  Add inspired trumpet and saxophone performances and it is magic.

As you listen, allow your mind to fully appreciate each of these four incredible musicians.  Listen to how they play both individually and collectively.  You can hear everything in a way you cannot with chordal music.

It is riveting.

Click Here to listen to Seek The Source by Christian McBride.