The musician is well-known in the region
DMV bassist, composer, and band leader Christian de Mesones has been playing music for more than 40 years. Around the area, he has regularly performed at The Carlyle Club in Alexandria; Bethesda Blues & Jazz, and has sold out multiple shows at the legendary Blues Alley Supper Club in the District.
He remembers vividly seeing his first concert—the legendary Kiss—and that ignited his love of the bass.
“I grew up in a household that was rich with music and I heard everything from Broadway plays to Stravinsky to classic rock and jazz, but this was the first time I felt I could relate to the bass because of Gene Simmons,” de Mesones said. “I immediately changed my direction in life after that concert.”
He played with numerous bands in high school and then got really serious, graduating from the Bass Institute of Technology in Hollywood. Since then, he’s been part of bands in New York, Hollywood, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
“I pursued a career in heavy metal and hard rock, and one of my first gigs after school was playing for a cover band in Hawaii,” de Mesones said. “Then I came to D.C., and started all over again.”
It was then that he switched gears and started playing more Latin jazz and R&B, and has been pushing hard ever since.
“I released single after single through an independent distributor and I started slowly building a career,” de Mesones said.
After recording with different groups throughout most of his career, a month before the pandemic, de Mesones released his debut solo album, “They Call Me Big New York.”
The album, an impassioned collection of Latin, funk, soul, and rhythm & blues, features 25 national recording artists and has resulted in multiple Top-10 singles and more than 2 million streams on Spotify. The song “Big Tall Wish” was featured on the Dave Koz Lounge show on Watercolors Sirius XM and reached No. 6 on the Groove Jazz/RadioWave chart.
“It came out in January and did great,” de Mesones said.
His biggest single to date, “Hispanica,” features legendary pianist Bob James, and reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Airplay chart.
“This is a song I really believe in but originally it was done with a vocalist,” de Mesones said. “It didn’t catch any fire at first, so I released it as an instrumental with Bob James—one of the biggest names in contemporary jazz—and it really took off. He is so respected and he blessed me by playing on this song. That opened a lot of doors for me.”
He performed songs off the album for one of the first times at The Birchmere last March, and is returning to the venue on April 14 for a new show he calls, “You Only Live Twice.”
“This is going to be a brand-new show for me with a theme,” de Mesones said. “I’m going to be playing not only songs off my debut album, but I’ll be doing new tracks off my upcoming album, which I hope to have a soft release in time for the show.”
That record, “You Only Live Twice,” has a theme in line with “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” with a man who comes from another world finding the planet through the pulse of the music.
“It’s futuristic, but each song has some kind of meaning,” de Mesones said. “I’m putting the show together now and I’ll have visuals behind all of my songs.”
When he played The Birchmere last year, he used visuals for the first time on stage, and called the experience “spectacular.”
“It made me want to do it all the time, but it’s hard because you don’t get a budget to do that most places, but The Birchmere provides it for me, which is awesome,” de Mesones said. “It’s going to be pretty cool visually.”
He hopes to see a packed house at The Birchmere gig and promises it will be an exciting time.
“It will have a lot of instrumentation, but it’s not a one-dimensional thing; if you love horns, you’re going to get three of the best in the area,” de Mesones said. “We’re also going to do a song in honor of Gary Oelze, who made The Birchmere the best place to be.”
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