Notable jazz performer Christian McBride will make a guest appearance in the Spring Jazz Concert Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Cullen Auditorium.
Derek Brown, instructor of music and conductor of the ACU Jazz Ensemble, said McBride easily is one of the top jazz players in the world in addition to being one of the most-recorded artists. Not only has McBride played on hundreds of albums with a variety of artists, including Sting and Dianna Krall, but he also leads a wide selection of bands himself.
“From the little bit I’ve talked with him over the phone, he seems like an all-around great guy,” Brown said. “I know the students are going to have a blast working and performing with him.”
Brown said McBride will play a variety of songs with the 17-piece student jazz ensemble, as well as a couple tunes with student and faculty jazz combinations.
“We’re doing a lot of his own original charts, along with some classics, and even a Radiohead tune, of all things,” Brown said. “I’m really grateful we have the ability to bring such a high-caliber artist – literally the best in the world – to work side-by-side with our students.”
Brown said the music department recently started a jazz track music bachelor’s degree, and he hopes to continue bringing in the best professional jazz musicians to give students first-hand experience from the professional music world.
Brown said McBride worked closely with jazz students in two different master classes, also called Free Clinics, on Tuesday in the Williams and Performing Arts Center recital hall.
Lynette Walters, administrative assistant for the Department of Music, said that in a master class, the featured guest artist listens to a student who has composed or put together a special arrangement. The artist then critiques the piece.
“The master class is neat because it gets down to earth and personal,” Walters said. “Students are able to perform in front of experienced jazz artists and get good pointers on how to perfect their music.”
The clinic primarily is geared toward jazz students, but anyone is welcome to observe what’s going on.
“The chance to play with Christian will be a thrill,” Walters said. “Just to be able to get this caliber of person to come and get the students’ creative juices flowing will be neat.”