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St. Cecilia Music Center Launches first-ever WinterFest from February 24 – 26, a three-night jazz festival featuring GRAMMY-winning bassist Christian McBride in various groups with his musical friends

St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids will hold the first-ever three-day Winter Jazz Festival in Grand Rapids called Winterfest featuring GRAMMY®- winning jazz bassist Christian McBride & Friends on February 24, 25 and 26, 2022. On February 24, McBride performs with Avery Fisher Prize winning bassist Edgar Meyer for a “double bass extravaganza”; On February 25, The Christian McBride Trio takes the stage with special guest jazz singer Cyrille Aimée; on the final evening, February 26, Christian McBride brings his award-winning quintet, Inside Straight, for an unforgettable night of energetic and inspired swinging jazz.

“Christian McBride & Inside Straight Live at the Village Vanguard” was just recently released in late 2021 with rave reviews. Writer for All About Jazz, Mike Jurkovic says, “he has heightened fun into an art form. His playing, even at its most pensive and persuasive, proclaims that better times are here even if just for the immediate moment. The immediate gig.”

St. Cecilia Music Center Executive / Artistic Director Cathy Holbrook states “We are thrilled to bring our first-ever winter Jazz Festival to Grand Rapids called Winterfest. Winterfest features one of the most important figures in music today, Christian McBride. His three-decade career as a musician, radio host and educator makes him one of the most recorded, most requested and most respected musicians of our time. Having an artist of his stature commit to a three-night residency is Grand Rapids at St. Cecilia Music Center is a true honor.”

Tickets to experience Winterfest are $123 for the full series, three concerts from February 24 – 26; or $40 to $55 per single concert. Winterfest tickets can be purchased online at www.scmc-online.org or by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224.

NOTE: SCMC currently requires proof of fully vaccinated status, or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours, to attend a concert at the SCMC venue. Attendees need to bring photo ID and proof of vaccination, or a negative test, the night of a concert. Note: Home tests are not accepted.

All patrons are required to wear a mask for the full duration of their time in the building.

Winterfest Artists Bios

The seven-time GRAMMY®-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride has been titled “a force of nature, fusing the fire and fury of a virtuoso with the depth and grounding of a seasoned journeyman.” With a career now blazing into its third decade, the Philadelphia native has become one of the most requested, most recorded, and most respected figures in the music world today. From jazz (McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny) to R&B (Isaac Hayes, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, and the one and only Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown) to pop/rock (Sting, Paul McCartney, Carly Simon) to hip-hop/neo-soul (The Roots, Queen Latifah) to classical (Kathleen Battle, Edgar Meyer, Shanghai 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.

Avery Fisher Prize winning bassist Edgar Meyer is in demand as both a performer and a composer. He has formed a role in the music world unlike any other. Hailed by The New Yorker as “…the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively un-chronicled history of his instrument”, Meyer’s unparalleled technique and musicianship in combination with his gift for composition have brought him to the forefront, where he is appreciated by a vast, varied audience. His uniqueness in the field was recognized by a MacArthur Award in 2002. In 2007, recognizing his wide-ranging recording achievements, Sony/BMG released a compilation of The Best of Edgar Meyer. In 2011, Meyer joined cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan for the Sony Masterworks recording The Goat Rodeo Sessions which was awarded the 2012 GRAMMY® Award for Best Folk Album. As a composer, Meyer has carved out a remarkable and unique niche in the musical world. One of his most recent compositions is the Double Concerto for Double Bass and Violin which received its world premiere July 2012 with Joshua Bell at the Tanglewood Music Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Meyer and Bell have also performed the work at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Aspen Music Festival, and with the Nashville and Toronto symphony orchestras. In the 2011-12 season, Meyer was composer in residence with the Alabama Symphony where he premiered his third concerto for double bass and orchestra. Meyer has collaborated with Béla Fleck and Zakir Hussain to write a triple concerto for double bass, banjo, and tabla, which was commissioned for the opening of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville.

Cyrille Aimée, acclaimed GRAMMY®-nominated vocalist, ventured from singing on street corners in Europe to dazzling audiences at the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals; from sneaking out to sing in gypsy encampments in her native France to acting on Broadway; from braving the notoriously tough audiences at New York’s Apollo Theatre to being called a “rising star in the galaxy of jazz singers” by The New York Times. Among countless accolades, Aimée won the Montreux Jazz Festival Vocal Competition and the Sarah Vaughn International Jazz Vocal Competition. As an actress, Aimée co-starred with Bernadette Peters in a Stephen Sondheim tribute at New York’s City Center which inspired her to dig deeper into Sondheim’s repertoire, resulting in her fourth and most recent album, Move On: A Sondheim Adventure.

Inside Straight began when Christian McBride recruited his former bandmates in Freddie Hubbard’s group, drummer Carl Allen, saxophonist Steve Wilson, pianist Eric Reed (who subsequently was replaced by Peter Martin) and an amazing young musical prodigy who had enrolled in McBride’s summer camp program Jazz at Aspen, Colorado, vibraphonist Warren Wolf. They played one week at the Village Vanguard with the intention of each musician returning to his other respective projects at the end of that engagement. But the entire week sold out. The proprietor of the Vanguard, Lorraine Gordon, who had very high standards and a reputation for not being easy to please, was ecstatic. Legendary A&R executive Bruce Lundvall, who had come down to hear the band after attending a Ron Carter concert at Carnegie Hall, sat down with McBride after the set and in discussion with the bassist reaffirmed that this ensemble was something special. Some six months later, McBride signed with Mack Avenue Records.

Inside Straight’s “Christian McBride & Inside Straight Live at the Village Vanguard” is Christian McBride’s twelfth release with Mack Avenue Music Group and his quintet’s newest recording can be thought of as a companion to the GRAMMY® Award-winning Christian McBride Trio Live at the Village Vanguard album released in 2015. Inside Straight is the quintet that inaugurated McBride’s collaboration with Mack Avenue Records (releasing Kind of Brown in 2009). Both live recordings of the bassist leading these two ensembles – are a rare engagement offered to only the most venerated jazz artists by the most venerated jazz club in America. Mike Jurkovic from All About Jazz writes about his newest release with Inside Straight, “…McBride needs no further introduction save to say he has heightened fun into an art form. His playing, even at its most pensive and persuasive, proclaims that better times are here even if just for the immediate moment. The immediate gig.”