Heard live, the music of star bassist Christian McBride’s quintet might swing, but this album (a tribute to the late double bassist Ray Brown, not that you’d guess) is strictly jazz for middle managers: the themes are corny or cute; the feel is too polite to be properly funky and the frontline of soprano sax and vibes sounds ingratiating rather than challenging. The main problem here is that no one appears to have anything to say, or any particular reason to say it. Impeccably played, of course.
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