Jazz bassist hits right note

Email to a Friend

Chi Modu

Despite success in the world of music, many musicians have failed financially. Two-time Grammy-award-winning bassist Christian McBride says he resists some of the financial temptations to which other musicians succumb. For example, in an industry where musicians are tight and fans become friends, it’s difficult not to get them free passes when they ask, which happens all too frequently in the business, McBride says.

The more freebies that an artist gives away, of course, means the less revenue that the venue generates and the less that it can ultimately pay a performer. McBride recognizes that clubs that can’t make money won’t be around to provide a stage for musicians, so he encourages fans to pay the cover charge and pitches it as “a direct contribution to the arts.” As a way to further raise his profile—and broaden his income base in the future—he started a radio show last year, which airs on Sirius/XM Radio.

He also realized that by spreading into education, he could find more opportunities for his musical side. He has been a teacher/facilitator at festivals, including the Detroit International Jazz Festival and the Monterey Jazz Festival, and artistic director at various arts centers and museums.

McBride had invested solely in historic musical instruments. But recently he placed 10 percent of his investment portfolio into money markets, 5 percent into mutual funds and 5 percent into an individual retirement account.

S. Berg