© 2024 WRTI
Your Classical and Jazz Source. Celebrating 75 Years!
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Sample a James Brown playlist curated by Christian McBride, the new artist ambassador for Qobuz

Ebru Yildiz

Perhaps you were under the impression that Christian McBride already wears too many hats. You’re well aware that this Grammy-winning bassist, bandleader and composer is also a broadcaster, programmer, arts administrator, and crestfallen Eagles fan. And as Hank Shteamer noted this week in the New York Times, McBride does it all with an exceptional approval rating: “Among fellow musicians, he’s cultivated a level of intergenerational good will that few other artists, inside or outside jazz, can claim.”

As of this week, there’s one more line to add to McBride’s curriculum vitae: he’s the new Artist-Approved Sound Spokesperson for Qobuz, the hi-res music streaming and download service. He’s only the second person to hold this title, following Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips last year. And as you might expect of McBride, he is kicking off his playlist obligations, in a manner of speaking, On the One.

That’s right — in case you were unaware, McBride is also a certified, Grade A connoisseur of James Brown. So it’s no surprise, but also no less of a delight, to see that his first Qobuz playlist is devoted to Soul Brother Number One, with an ear toward audio quality. You can hear excerpts of each track here, in the hi-fidelity sound that Qobuz has made its primary selling point.

“When Christian fired up Qobuz and started grooving to his James Brown playlist, I knew he was a perfect musician to spread the word about our service,” Dan Mackta, Managing Director of Qobuz US, tells WRTI. “This is a funky-ass list!”

McBride has been a Qobuz proponent for a while now: in 2021, I shared the news of a digital EP he’d titled The Q Sessions, exclusively for the service. When we talked about that release at the time, he compared the Qobuz audiophile experience to that of a high-end turntable. “I’m hoping that at some point, since the layperson seems to know the difference between standard resolution versus hi-res television, that the same could be true with music,” he said.

A few weeks ago, WRTI premiered the title track from Prime, McBride’s new album with the New Jawn. That album will be out this Friday via his Brother Mister imprint of Mack Avenue Records. And the band is currently on tour.

For more information about Qobuz, go to qobuz.com.

Nate Chinen has been writing about music for more than 25 years. He spent a dozen of them working as a critic for The New York Times, and helmed a long-running column for JazzTimes. As Editorial Director at WRTI, he oversees a range of classical and jazz coverage, and contributes regularly to NPR.