REDMAN · MEHLDAU · MCBRIDE · BLADE: A MoodSwing Reunion
Tickets On Sale Thursday, Jan 13th 2022 @ 12 Noon PM PST
JOSHUA REDMAN - SAXOPHONE
BRAD MEHLDAU - PIANO
CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE - BASS
BRIAN BLADE - DRUMS
Blue Note Napa presents world class entertainment outside at the Charles Krug Winery located in St. Helena, CA. This is a beautiful outdoor location on the grounds of Napa Valley’s Oldest Wine Estate.
Hosted and Seated General Admission Only
Virtual Tickets are sent to buyer's email within 5 days of event.
Tickets purchased from unofficial 3rd party outlets cannot be verified by our scanners. Please purchase directly through TicketWeb only.
- BNNV LLC and its affiliates will follow all government COVID-19 health & safety guidelines in place at the time of the event. Our entry requirements are subject to change based on updated data including; infection rates, transmission data, variant changes, and any guideline updates from Federal, State or Local government agencies.
For CA State Guidelines, visit https://covid19.ca.gov
- There are currently no vaccination or negative-test policy requirements to attend our OUTDOOR concerts at Charles Krug Winery. We encourage you to get vaccinated if you have not already by visiting vaccines.gov.
- Masks are not required, but wearing a non-vented respirator, such as a N95, KN95, or KF94 is recommended whenever possible.
- All tickets are pre-purchased and sent virtually within 5 days of the event, then scanned at check in for entry.
- No Refunds
- Event is Rain or Shine
- General Admission Tickets: Tickets are sold in different priced areas and are sold by the each with bistro style tables and chairs.
- Three general admission seating sections: Sapphire Section is closest to the stage, followed by the Royal Blue Section, then the Blue Section.
- Hosted Seating is based on first come, within the area purchased
- Groups of 6 or more that want to sit together may request with host. However, should be purchased on one order, if possible
- All members of your party must be present and together
- Every patron must have a ticket. Prices are per ticket
- Food, wine and beer are available for purchase with all major credit cards/cash
- No Corkage or outside food/drink
- No Professional Cameras
- No Smoking
- SERVICE ANIMALS ONLY. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS IN YOUR CAR. A service dog is an animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
- Outdoor toilets and free field parking on site
- Ages 8+ No Babies
- There is no dance floor.
- Outdoor Venue Address 2800 Main Street, St. Helena, CA
- Visit Blue Note Napa website for more information
MoodSwing, the 1994 album by Joshua Redman’s first permanent quartet, was an astonishing collection by four precociously talented musicians who would rapidly establish themselves as creative beacons. After years of individual triumphs, saxophonist Redman, pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Brian Blade join forces again on the Nonesuch album RoundAgain. The recording finds each band member contributing music to a program of stunning variety and sixth-sense interaction.
Redman remembers what he describes as “a hodge-podge of gigs” that followed his victory in the 1991 Thelonious Monk Institute International Saxophone Competition, leading to his first permanent touring quartet. McBride, who had also quickly established himself as a dynamic young talent, participated in some of Redman’s earliest recordings and live sets. Blade met Redman in New Orleans in 1990 and came aboard for the saxophonist’s first tour as a bandleader. Mehldau, whose 1992 working trio supported Redman for several nights at the Village Vanguard, joined the others just in time for the quartet’s appearance at the 1993 Newport Jazz Festival. Over the next year and a half, the Joshua Redman Quartet toured widely, recorded MoodSwing and gave the ever-searching leader exactly what he was looking for.
“As someone who had not trained to be a professional musician,” Redman explains, “I felt behind many of my peers. But I knew that I had a talent for tapping into the moment and using that as a creative springboard, and I knew that the better the musicians I played with, the better I would play. It’s never been about me playing ‘over’ a rhythm section with what some consider my ‘out front’ instrument; it’s always been about me playing within the band. Each of these guys was willing to embrace that conversational aesthetic, an approach that I think Brad has more recently dubbed ‘listening back’…As a rhythm section, Brad, Christian, and Brian were as hard-swinging as you could imagine, but also had an elasticity that had to do with deep listening, in-the-moment openness, and empathic interactivity – a perfect balance of being locked and grooving and flexible and fluid.” Mehldau seconds Redman’s thoughts: “It’s an incredibly deep swing with Christian and Brian, and it’s so elastic and strong at the same time. When I’m playing with them, I really feel like anything is possible.”
Redman’s example also inspired his mates. “Joshua came fully formed to lead,” Blade says. “He led by example, even when nothing was said, and it taught me how to always give and always listen, on and offstage.” McBride adds, “Joshua is the first bandleader I saw who took such pains creating set lists and ensuring that each set flowed. And he’s very new-school, in the sense that he deals with conflict beautifully, where many of the older guys thought the way to put out a fire was to create a bigger fire.” And Mehldau considers Redman “a strong model for a bandleader. He knows exactly what is unique in each player and puts the music in a place where that can be expressed. He is absolutely the boss but never dictatorial, and he really is waiting for each of us to give him something to work with. I grabbed all of that from him for my own trio.”
No one knew better than Redman that this rare confluence of talents would be fleeting. “I realized almost immediately that this band wouldn’t stay together for very long,” he says. “Not because we didn’t dig playing with each other. But, well, because the three of them were really just that great. They were without a doubt, for our generation, among the most accomplished and innovative on their respective instruments. They were already all in such high demand – everyone wanted to play with them! And they all had such strong and charismatic musical personalities – destined to start soon pursuing their own independent visions as bandleaders, composers, and recording artists. I knew better than anyone else just how incredibly lucky I was to have even that short time with them.”
As it turned out, the foursome was only together for a year and a half. In the intervening decades, each has played with one or more of the others on various occasions, but all four had never properly reunited. “I knew it would happen, but I didn’t know when,” Redman admits. “Back then, I thought that maybe we’d reunite in five years, which seems like such a long time when you’re twenty-five years old. But we were all so busy, and we needed the space, both in our schedules and in our creative development. For at least the last decade or so, though, I started mentioning it more and more regularly, bugging everyone about it maybe a little too much! It seemed like we were all into it, but it somehow never fit into our collective schedules until now…Honestly, it took a real team effort, on the part of so many different folks, to make this finally happen.”
“We would have done it ten years ago if it were up to me,” Mehldau insists. “Josh, Christian, and Brian are all my heroes. It’s like playing with The Avengers.”
Blade adds, “This band is like a turntable where the stylus was lifted but the turntable is still spinning. We just had to drop the needle, and there we were with all of the information we had gathered. It has gotten deeper because of life itself, and because Joshua, Brad, and Christian plumb the depths every day.”
Once schedules were aligned, Redman realized that the new recording had to be approached differently than the original. “Most of the repertoire decisions fell to me when we recorded MoodSwing,” he explains, “but we all agreed that this time around it should feel like a present-day coming together of the four of us, not just some sort of ‘reenactment’ of the 1994 Joshua Redman Quartet. Sure I had probably twenty-some tunes that this band would have been perfect for! But it was important that this be a truly collective undertaking and that everyone contribute original music. Given our comfort with a wide variety of grooves, styles, and moods, I knew that we could achieve variety while still creating a focused, integrated program. We just had to play the music and discover which particular combination of songs was right for this occasion.”
Redman ultimately chose three of his own compositions. The opening “Undertow,” a brooding piece in triple meter, is singled out by Mehldau as an example of how “Joshua’s writing has expanded dramatically from where it began.” “Silly Little Love Song” captures the quartet’s soulful side, with more harmonic wrinkles than the usual funk groove, while “Right Back Round Again” raises the tempo and allows for swing and the level of interactive listening the members cherish.
Regarding his own compositions, Mehldau explains, “‘Moe Honk’ was a way to get everybody to burn a bit on the solos, while staying on their toes with these little 5/8 subdivisions in the bars. These guys just eat that stuff up. I wrote the tune and could barely keep up with them. And ‘Father’ was from my desire to have a swinging waltz in the book, like Joshua’s ‘Soul Dance’ and other things we used to play.” The track is one of two that displays what Mehldau cites as “The huge leap that Joshua’s soprano playing has taken.”
The other track where Redman sets his tenor sax aside in favor of the soprano is McBride’s “Floppy Diss.” “Joshua was truly wonderful in bringing us in on every decision,” the bassist recalls. “After our first rehearsal he said, ‘We’re missing something.’ Brian responded with, ‘We don’t have a blues,’ and suddenly everybody was looking at me. So I went home and wrote a lopsided, twisted, cross-eyed blues, thinking back to the blues we used to play, with a little lemon and lime added. My working title was ‘When Monk Met Jerry Lewis,’ because we all love Monk, and the melody reminded me of something that Lewis could do one of his pantomimes to.”
While “Floppy Diss” was the first track recorded (“Our sound check,” Redman notes, chuckling.), Blade’s stealthy “Your Part to Play” was the last. “I knew that Joshua would come in with more than an album’s worth of material,” the drummer recalls, “but he asked me if I had a ballad to contribute because he didn’t have that area covered. I’m not that guy who can just write on demand, but I knew I could come up with something that this band could interpret.”
All seven tracks underscore how magical the foursome remains. “We rehearsed for one afternoon, did two nights at The Falcon in Marlboro, NY, and then went into the studio,” Redman reports. “And as soon as we started playing, the magic was still there.”
His band mates agree. “These guys have grown exponentially,” McBride insists. “They are super-monsters now, and playing with them gave me a hard look at myself. And when you’re intimate creating art, even if you don’t play together for twenty years, you only need two bars to realize what the feeling is about, because the feeling never leaves.”
McBride moved to New York in 1989 to pursue classical studies at the Juilliard School. There he was promptly recruited to the road by saxophonist Bobby Watson. Call it a change in curriculum: a decade’s worth of study through hundreds of recording sessions and countless gigs with an ever-expanding circle of musicians. He was finding his voice, and others were learning to listen for it.
In 2000 the lessons of the road came together in the formation of what would become his longest-running project, the Christian McBride Band. Praised by writer Alan Leeds as "one of the most intoxicating, least predictable bands on the scene today," the CMB—saxophonist Ron Blake, keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer, and drummer Terreon Gully—have been collectively evolving McBride's all-inclusive, forward-thinking outlook on music through their incendiary live shows, as chronicled on 2006’s Live at Tonic. Part excursion, part education, the CMB is a vehicle built on a framework of experience and powered by unfettered creativity: a mesmerizing dance on the edge of an electro-acoustic fault line.
In 2009 McBride began focusing this same energy through a more traditional lens with the debut of his critically-acclaimed Inside Straight quintet, and again with the Christian McBride Big Band, whose 2012 release The Good Feeling won the GRAMMY for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album. As his career entered its third decade, McBride added the role of mentor, tapping rising stars pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. for the Christian McBride Trio’s GRAMMY-nominated album Out Here.
He is also a respected educator and advocate, first noted in 1997 when he spoke on former President Bill Clinton's town hall meeting "Racism in the Performing Arts." He has since been named Artistic Director of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Sessions (2000), co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (2005), and the Second Creative Chair for Jazz of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (2005).
In 1998 he combined roles, composing "The Movement, Revisited," a four-movement suite dedicated to four of the major figures of the civil rights movement: Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The piece was commissioned by the Portland (ME) Arts Society and the National Endowment for the Arts, and performed throughout New England in the fall of 1998 with McBride's quartet and a 30-piece gospel choir. For its tenth anniversary, "The Movement, Revisited" was expanded, rewritten, and revamped to feature an 18-piece big band and four actors/speakers in addition to the gospel choir. It was performed in Los Angeles at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and praised by the Los Angeles Times as "a work that was admirable—to paraphrase Dr. King—for both the content of its music and the character of its message."
Currently he hosts and produces “The Lowdown: Conversations With Christian” on SiriusXM satellite radio and National Public Radio’s “Jazz Night in America,” a weekly radio show and multimedia collaboration between WBGO, NPR and Jazz at Lincoln Center, showcasing outstanding live jazz from across the country. With his staggering body of work, McBride is the ideal host, drawing on history, experience, and a gift for storytelling to bridge the gap between artist, music, and audience. He brings that same breadth of experience to bear as Artistic Advisor for Jazz Programming at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).
Completing the circle is his work with Jazz House Kids, the nationally recognized community arts organization founded by his wife, vocalist Melissa Walker. Exclusively dedicated to educating children through jazz, the “Jazz House” concept brings internationally renowned jazz performers to teach alongside a professional staff, offering students a wide range of creative programming that develops musical potential, enhances leadership skills, and strengthens academic performance. This shared celebration of America’s original musical art form cultivates tomorrow’s community leaders and global citizens while preserving its rich legacy for future generations.
Whether behind the bass or away from it, Christian McBride is always of the music. From jazz (Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, to R&B (Isaac Hayes, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Lalah Hathaway, and the one and only Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown) to pop/rock (Sting, Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Don Henley, Bruce Hornsby) to hip-hop/neo-soul (The Roots, D'Angelo, Queen Latifah) to classical (Kathleen Battle, Edgar Meyer, Shanghai Quartet, Sonus Quartet), he is a luminary with one hand ever reaching for new heights, and the other extended in fellowship—and perhaps the hint of a challenge—inviting us to join him.