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  • Jonathan Widran

CHRISTIAN FABIAN, Hip To The Skip

Christian Fabian brings a dynamic, stylistically multi-faceted history to his latest and arguably and by design funkiest trio project Hip To The Skip. A graduate of Berklee College of Music who got the jazz bug after meeting Dizzy Gillespie when he was 12, the Swedish born bassist led various groups, including the New Lionel Hampton Band and the Native Jazz Quartet, before embarking on a nearly 20-year career as a recording artist specializing in unique trio projects.


After releasing a handful of projects with different collaborative alignments under the concept of Fabian Zone Trio (including a live album, Domkeller Live! in 2016), he ensembled with the likes of David Pastorius and Bernard “Pretty” Purdie before launching his explosive latest trio vibe with versatile keyboardist Matt King (who effortlessly switches from acoustic piano to B-3) and powerhouse drummer Jason Marsalis on Christmas Everywhere in 2022.


That holiday session laid a grand, groove-filled foundation for the new project, which bursts forth with fiery and intuitive sonic innovation and non-stop master strokes of jazz-funk-fusion energy. Considering the depth and diversity of the project – whose set list ranges from a moody and soulful, solo-filled meditations on “Mercy Mercy Mercy” and “When the Saints Go Marching In” and a wild, raucous ear-bending spin through McCoy Tyner’s “Effendi” through crafty, buoyant originals by each of the trio’s members – it’s interesting to note that when he and Marsalis first had the idea to ask King to come on board, the idea was recording a few songs and just see where the muse took them.


As Fabian notes, “The music that had come through us in those sessions was cool, different, authentic – truthful. But we didn’t know what it was.” When the bassist heard his friend Michael utter the phrase “Hip to the Skip” on a late night podcast, a whole concept emerged and, lucky for fans of this kind of amplified trio magic, more sessions followed. The originals include Fabian’s frenetic title track, King’s bubbly, hard-swinging “Incognito” and punchy, percussive “Sidekick” and Marsalis’ B-3 driven extravaganza “Zig 7” and “In the Name of Feminism.” bright, booming, optimistic piece of social consciousness.

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