Christian McBride will perform his magnum opus ‘The Movement Revisited’ in Charlotte with local creative leaders

By Cameron Lee

February 19, 2024

Grammy Award-winning bassist Christian McBride continues a long lineage of legendary jazz musicians using their craft to interpret social injustices in America with his album, The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons. Crediting pioneers of the genre like Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, and Charles Mingus, who inspired him to write and record the album, McBride pays homage to Black icons Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcom X.

Eight-time Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Christian McBride will perform his album, The Movement Revisited, in Charlotte with a 17-piece big band, a full choir, and four local narrators. Courtesy 

McBride grew up as a sort of a musical prodigy in his hometown of Philadelphia, graduating from the famed Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), where esteemed artists and musicians such as Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Black Thought, Jazmine Sullivan, Boyz II Men, and Leslie Odom, Jr. attended. After a short stint at the prestigious Juilliard School, McBride toured with saxophonist Bobby Watson and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, going on to collaborate with artists such as The Roots, D’Angelo, Sting, Paul McCartney, Queen Latifah, Chaka Khan, and James Brown throughout his career. He’s also the host of NPR’s Jazz Night In America and the Artistic Director for Newport Jazz Festival and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. 

Album cover for Christian McBride’s ‘The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons.’

On Friday, February 23, McBride will perform in Charlotte for the first time since 1994. The evening at Belk Theater will be complete with his 17-piece big band, a full choir, and a collaboration with four local orators who will narrate the parts of his sonic portraits of the four icons. 

The four Charlotte narrators will be Emmy Award-winning poet Boris “Bluz” Rogers, who will perform the part of Malcolm X; artist, producer and GrindHaus studio owner Jason “Jet” Jones will be featured as Martin Luther King Jr.; spoken word artist and playwright Hannah Hasan will narrate the voice of Rosa Parks; and fitness personality Corey “CYO” Brown will speak as Muhammad Ali. 

The Movement Revisited, which was originally recorded in 2013 and released through jazz label Mack Avenue Records in 2020, features acclaimed poet and writer Sonia Sanchez, actors Wendell Pierce (The Wire) and Vondie Curtis-Hall (Chicago Hope), and award-winning narrator, Dion Graham. The 13-song album is considered to be McBride’s magnum opus, and the opportunity for these Charlotte community figures to participate in the live performance is historic. 

“It feels like a high honor and a great privilege to be chosen to share the words of our ancestor Rosa Parks as a part of such powerful and important production with Christian McBride,” said Hasan, the co-founder of Epoch Tribe, a production company that organizes theatrical storytelling events such as I Am Queen Charlotte. “This performance is so special because it marries narrative with music… I believe in Black stories and Black history and utilizing the performance of art to remind people of the brilliance that has come from the hearts and minds of our people.” 

Hannah Hasan, co-founder of Epoch Tribe, will narrate the voice of Rosa Parks for ‘The Movement Revisited’ in Charlotte on Friday, February 23.

Those stories and history are what inspired McBride to write The Movement. Growing up in West Philly, McBride’s grandmother saved old Jet and Ebony magazines from the ‘60s, which sparked his interest and fascination with Black icons in America during the Civil Rights era. While his grandmother’s collections taught a young McBride about important social and cultural figures, his great uncle taught him about the musical icons in jazz. 

“When I started playing the double bass in middle school, he got so excited,” McBride said. “He played me Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall. He played me a couple of Mingus records…He played some Modern Jazz Quartet…and he played me some Ornette Coleman. My great uncle really is a true scholar of the music. He can speak on any era of Louis Armstrong, up to the present day.

Emmy Award-winning poet Boris “Bluz” Rogers will perform the part of Malcolm X in Christian McBride’s ‘The Movement Revisited.’

For Boris “Bluz” Rogers, an accomplished poet who has performed with countless internationally recognized artists throughout his career, he cherishes the opportunity to work with McBride and speak the part of Malcolm X for this groundbreaking live jazz performance in Charlotte. 

“It feels empowering. I mean, we are getting to read the blueprints of freedom, civil rights, and liberation to a soundtrack composed by a musical genius,” said Rogers. “I think what makes this so special is not only is it Christian McBride, a phenomenal talent, bringing his vision to the stage, it’s him reaching out to creative Charlotte staples to help bring the vision to light.”

Singer-songwriter, producer and GrindHaus studio owner Jason “Jet” Jones will be featured as Martin Luther King Jr. in ‘The Movement Revisited.’

Another one of those creative staples is singer-songwriter, producer, and music studio owner/operator Jason Jet, who believes in the power of music, transcending history and time.

“Very rarely do you get a blend of musical vibes and real-life poetry crossing paths. This is so deep on so many levels, because of how the music will create an opening to the hearts and minds of everyone who is in the room… taking us back in time to the moment where these experiences happened,” Jet said. “Only music can do that and when you pair the right words with it, well, magic happens.”

Corey “C’Yo” Brown, founder of Urban Cardio Dance in Charlotte, sees the opportunity as an introspective experience allowing him to connect with history. 

Corey “C’Yo” Brown, founder of Urban Cardio Dance in Charlotte will voice the part of Muhammad Ali in Christian McBride’s ‘The Movement Revisited.’

“It’s truly an honor and a very special moment. That’s because of the respect I have for Christian. His work along with the joy I feel as a result of reading as one of our historical heroes. I’ve been able to reconnect with myself, artistically and learn more about the perspective of my character,” Brown said. 

With such a grand production, McBride’s The Movement Revisited will truly feel like history is being made. Influenced by long-form jazz pieces from Ellington, Rollins, and Mingus, who used music to reflect on the social climate, the performance harkens back to a time where brave and valiant heroes fought for simple freedoms in America. It’s inspirational on many levels, and McBride hopes it inspires a new generation of creatives. 

Grammy Award-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride will perform in Charlotte for the first time since 1994 on Friday, February 23. Courtesy

“Whatever people feel, I just hope that it at least inspires them to either go back and do some research on one of the four people who we talk about, or maybe some young composer is sitting in the audience going, ‘You know, if I write a piece like that, maybe I can do a better job.’ Whatever it is, just do something positive.” 

Christian McBride’s The Movement Revisited will be performed in Charlotte with a 17-piece band, full choir, and four local narrators (Bluz Rogers, Hannah Hasan, Jason Jet, and Corey “CYO” Brown at Belk Theater on Friday, February 23

Read next: 

In this article