Skip to content

ARTISTS

In September 1966, organist Jimmy Smith and guitarist Wes Montgomery got together at Rudy Van Gelder’s famed studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Over the course of three days, the two jazz icons recorded the material for two now-classic albums: The Dynamic Duo (1966) and Further Adventures of Jimmy and Wes (1968), backed by a big band featuring arrangements by the great Oliver Nelson.

That pair of electrifying outings would prove seminal for another dynamic duo over the ensuing decades: bass great Christian McBride and master organist Joey DeFrancesco would wear out the grooves on their copies of the Smith/Montgomery summit meetings during their high school days, and both would remain touchstones throughout a friendship and collaboration that has lasted nearly 40 years. Now, the pair pay tribute with For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver, the third release by the GRAMMY® Award-winning Christian McBride Big Band.

Due for release on September 25 via Mack Avenue Records, For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver echoes the format of the original Smith/Montgomery summit meetings, with a balance of big band and quartet tracks. To complete the core band, McBride called on another longtime friend and collaborator, Mark Whitfield, to play the Montgomery role, while regular CMBB drummer Quincy Phillips anchors the ensemble.

“Joey is, without question, my oldest friend in music,” McBride says. “We met in middle school playing in the Settlement Music School Jazz Ensemble. We’ve recorded a few things here and there over the years, but we’ve never recorded an entire album together until now. It seemed logical to salute the two albums that we listened to quite a bit as kids.”

The repertoire on For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver also follows from the Smith/Montgomery recordings, with four tracks reprised for the originals along with a mix of originals and standards that capture the same ebullient spirit. The celebratory tone is set with the rollicking classic “Night Train.” The familiar, window-rattling tune was part of The Dynamic Duo, but it’s been a constant in the books of many a bandleader who’s been influential to McBride and DeFrancesco, including Duke Ellington and James Brown.

Montgomery’s “Road Song” originally appeared on Further Adventures, and here allows both Whitfield and DeFrancesco to show off on captivating, exploratory solos, each brilliantly comping for the other and showing off their dynamic chemistry. “Milestones” is taken from the same album, and again allows the band to tip its collective hat not only to the album’s titular sources but to another giant who has played a key role in their musical lives: Miles Davis, who famously recruited DeFrancesco straight out of high school.

The classic spiritual “Down By the Riverside,” which opened The Dynamic Duo, is taken at a breakneck pace by the skilled band, lending the tune an even more raucous spirit than the Smith/Montgomery rendition. The last two pieces are originals: Whitfield contributed “Medgar Evers’ Blues,” a salute to the slain civil rights activist originally recorded on his 1990 debut, The Marksman. And “Pie Blues,” which closes the album on a soulful, down and dirty note, is built on a groove that McBride and DeFrancesco devised while still in high school together at Philadelphia’s High School for Creative And Performing Arts (CAPA), alongside classmates like Kurt Rosenwinkel and members of Boyz II Men and The Roots.

“There’s not really a melody, just a groove,” McBride explains. “As for the word ‘Pie,’ we’re not sure where that came from. We were just being silly. I know we sure ate a lot of pie back then!”

The band pares down to the quartet of McBride, DeFrancesco, Whitfield and Phillips for four tracks. The first is a lilting take on Freddie Hubbard favorite “Up Jumped Spring” highlighted by a nimble, singing turn by the bassist. Whitfield is at his most heartfelt on “The Very Thought of You,” with DeFrancesco’s cloud-like chords conjuring an airy atmosphere. All four rise to the sophisticated elegance of Billy Eckstine on their version of “I Want To Talk About You,” while DeFrancesco’s “Don Is,” a winking homage to bassist and Blue Note honcho Don Was, is buoyed by Phillips’ light-footed swing.

The 17-piece Christian McBride Big Band has become one of the most scintillating large ensembles on the modern jazz scene since its 2011 Mack Avenue debut, The Good Feeling. Both that album and its successor, 2017’s Bringin’ It, garnered GRAMMY® Awards in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble category. The stellar band has remained remarkably consistent throughout that history, a testament to the camaraderie and joyous vibe of McBride’s intensely swinging ensemble.

The CMBB features a host of elite musicians mixing renowned veterans with rising stars, most of them bandleaders in their own right: trumpeters Frank Greene, Freddie Hendrix, Brandon Lee, Nabate Isles, and Anthony Hervey; trombonists Michael Dease, Steve Davis, James Burton and Douglas Purviance; and saxophonists Steve Wilson, Todd Bashore, Ron Blake, Dan Pratt and Carl Maraghi.

There are no upcoming events at this time.

  • Christian McBride | “For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver” | Available September 25 via Mack Avenue Records - The Grammy Award-winning Christian McBride Big Band Returns with a Spirited Tribute to Jazz Icons Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery and Oliver Nelson For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver, Due Out September 25 via Mack Avenue Records Features Longtime McBride Collaborators Joey DeFrancesco and Mark Whitfield Paying Homage to the Influential Musicians and Their Famed Big Band…
  • Christian McBride | Single: “Medgar Evers’ Blues” | Available Now via Mack Avenue Records - Critically Acclaimed Bassist Christian McBride Releases “Medgar Evers’ Blues,” From Forthcoming Big Band Release, in Tribute to Assassinated Civil Rights Leader on Anniversary of His Death “Medgar Evers’ Blues” Follows in Footsteps of McBride’s Social Justice Magnum Opus, The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver: Available September 25…
  • Christian McBride | “The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons” | Available February 7 via Mack Avenue Records - After Finding Solace in Learning Black American History Through Kindred Writers in his Grandmother’s Magazines, Christian McBride Turns His Childhood Fascination into 20-Year-Long Civil Rights Project The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons, Available February 7 on Mack Avenue Records Highlights Civil Rights Icons Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King…
  • AVAILABLE NOW: Christian McBride | “Christian McBride’s New Jawn” | Brother Mister Productions - AVAILABLE NOW: Christian McBride’s New Jawn Releases Eponymous Debut Album on Bassist’s New Mack Avenue Music Group Imprint, Brother Mister Productions Band Features Trumpeter Josh Evans, Saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and Drummer Nasheet Waits Jawn [jän]: noun. A slang terminology from Philadelphia. All-purpose term for a person, place or thing. Sure, Christian McBride could have called…
  • 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards: 13 Nominations in Six Categories - DL Media Artists Receive 13 Nominations in Six Categories for 60th Annual GRAMMY® Awards Best Improvised Jazz Solo (Cat. 31):   Billy Childs’ Rebirth “Dance of Shiva”   Mack Avenue Records Release Date: March 24, 2017   Web: BillyChilds.com ______________________________   Best Improvised Jazz Solo (Cat. 31): Sara Caswell on Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge’s Whispers on the Wind “Can’t…
  • AVAILABLE NOW: Christian McBride – “Bringin’ It” – Mack Avenue Records - “Bassist extraordinaire, composer, arranger, educator, curator and administrator, Christian McBride has been one of the most important and most omnipresent figures in the jazz world for 20 years.” – NPR “The deep, dark-maple tone that Christian McBride elicits from an upright bass is one of jazz’s forthright pleasures, and so is the pleasure he seems…
  • Christian McBride – “Bringin It” – Available September 22 - Iconic bassist Christian McBride has been doing what the title of his upcoming big band album implores for years: Bringin’ It. This highly anticipated release, which follows the Christian McBride Big Band’s 2011 Grammy® Award-winning debut, The Good Feeling, puts his status and skills as an all-around entertainer on full display. With a list of…

Screen Shot 2020-07-23 at 11.51.18 AM

For Jimmy, Wes & Oliver

ITUNES AMAZON

Record Label:  Mack Avenue
Release Date: September 25, 2020