The Good Feeling
Label: Mack Avenue Records
Apparently Christian McBride long dreamed of making a big band record, and this rich, wide-ranging large ensemble recording sounds like the product of long study. "In The Shade of the Cedar Tree," originally on his Verve debut, and "Science Fiction," from his 2000 release, both get dense retooling. McBride's artfully educated arrangements -- from straight-up Baise-esque swing to challenging modernism -- have such breadth that sometimes it feels a bit too much like a scholastic exercise. However, The tunes in which he calls in his wife, vocalist Melissa Walker, are the record's most refined.