Bassist/bandleader Christian McBride isn't a guy who likes sitting still. The L.A. Phil's Creative Chair for Jazz from 2006 to 2010, the 39-year-old McBride has recently toured with the jazz-fusion super-group Five Peace Band as well as his throwback acoustic ensemble Kind of Brown, which released a sharp debut in 2009. This year marks another active one for McBride with September's rambunctious big-band album "The Good Feeling" and this month's "Conversations With Christian," a collection of duets that rose out of a 2009 podcast series of the same name.
Full of loosely intimate interplay, the results sometimes recall the try-anything spirit of McBride's guest-heavy 2006 live album "Live at Tonic." A duet with Dee Dee Bridgewater on "It's Your Thing" swells with such a sassily off-the-cuff spirit that Bridgewater briefly breaks into laughter, while jazz violinist Regina Carter forms an intricate lattice-work with McBride for a bluesy play on Bach's Double Violin Concerto. A sparkling improvisation with Chick Corea churns through a sea of unexpected twists, and "McDukey's Blues" is a raucous piano-bass sprint with George Duke, who sounds worlds away from his breezier plugged-in fare.