The start is chaotic for sure, but that’s the intent. Two minutes of craziness is an accurate description of the intro and outro of “Head Bedlam.” “A sonic description of us looking at Twitter particularly during the pandemic,” leader Christian McBride explains after the first tune of his Tiny Desk set, “when you put your phone down, that’s when the groove starts.”
The groove is funky too. For almost eight years, McBride and his bandmates — trumpeter Josh Evans, Marcus Strickland on woodwinds and drummer Nasheet Waits — have been playing exploratory post-bop music without a polyphonic instrument — one that can easily play more than one note at a time — like a piano or a guitar. This makes for a genuinely distinct sound, one that’s less dependent on strict harmonic understructures and more creative interplay between instrumentalists.
Strickland wrote the soulful second song, “Prime,” which is also the title track to the group’s second album released earlier this year. You can hear each player’s personality shine through their instruments as they support one other with an impeccable demonstration of the call and response method. Towards the end, Waits’ explosive drum solo is quite extraordinary.
The last song, “Walkin’ Funny” is a bluesy swinger from the band’s first album. McBride anchors the piece with his signature thumping bass style and a fantastic solo — just try and tap your foot along with the crazy meter changes that are unpredictable but fun.
- “Head Bedlam”
- “Walkin’ Funny”
- Christian McBride: bass
- Josh Evans: trumpet
- Marcus Strickland: tenor sax, bass clarinet
- Nasheet Waits: drums
TINY DESK TEAM
- Producer: Suraya Mohamed
- Director: Joshua Bryant
- Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
- Creative Director: Bob Boilen
- Series Producer: Bobby Carter
- Editor: Mitra I. Arthur
- Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Zayrha Rodriguez
- Production Assistant: Sofia Seidel
- Photographer: Catie Dull
- Tiny Desk Team: Kara Frame, Ashley Pointer, Hazel Cills
- VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
- Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann