VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
28 JUL 09 JONATHAN WIDRAN
Fans of urban jazz keyboardist and vocalist Joe McBride had been waiting so long for his follow up to 2005's Texas Hold 'Em, they were probably wondering if he started a new life as a professional card player. Actually, he's spent those years retooling his life and music and, true to the title of his latest Heads Up disc, Lookin' For A Change.
Since relocating from Texas to Cleveland, he's formed a hard working group with a trio of brilliant Ohio based musicians, whose vibe forms the core of the new collection: guitarist Dan Wilson, drummer Elijah Gilmore and upright bassist Roger Hines. This disc features fresh twists on hits by everyone from Gnarls Barkley ("Crazy") and Rob Thomas ("This Is How A Heart Breaks") to Vanessa Carlton ("1000 Miles"), Corinne Bailey Rae ("Like A Star") and Coldplay ("The Scientist"). Creating definitive improvisational jazz vocal versions of these pop songs and stunning us with three compelling originals -- including the playful and funky, socially conscious title track --McBride makes a dramatic shift from his old electronic based approach.
He has played acoustic piano extensively before, but always over the top of arrangements that were primarily put together with drum machines and other technology. Going fully acoustic, McBride fashions a project that has instant and familiar appeal but truly grooves, stretches and shows McBride's tremendous growth as both a composer and vocal and instrumental interpreter.
Joe McBride, from Lookin' For A Change