Baddest of the Badd

This space has previously catalogued a pantheon of Badasses, the bad-to-the-bone boys and girls whose badness makes them (and what they do) impossible to ignore and glorious to witness. 

The past two weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing two of the world’s very baddest musicians at Hollywood’s Catalina Bar & Grilll Jazz Club, one of the few venues left in Los Angeles where badness is regularly on display. First, Brian Blade, who many professional drummers consider the finest practioner of his instrument, brought his Fellowship Band with him for a multi-night engagement prior to joining Wayne Shorter for a one-nighter at the Hollywood Bowl. We could expend many words describing Mr. Blade’s transcendent musicality, spirituality, and virtuosity. But we’ll give you the short version: Mr. Blade is one of the very baddest men on the planet.

After careful and sober consideration — this, after all, is serious stuff — we are prepared to make a bold and admittedly controversial pronouncement. The week after Blade’s triumphant residency at Catalina’s, a band called Inside Straight took over Catalina’s red velvet stage. That group was lead by the bass player Christian McBride. And after experiencing his energy in person — his music, his spirit, his performer’s extroversion, his blazing love of people, life, and art — we shall not mince words: Christian McBride is quite possibly the Baddest Man on the Planet.

One of the funkiest, grooviest, swingin’est, also.

But, essentially, Mr. McBride is a very, very bad boy.

And that’s good for all of us.

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