Bassist Christian McBride blamed U.S. authorities for confiscating his bow before he arrived in Canada to play the TD Victoria International JazzFest.
Performing Monday at First Metropolitan United Church, McBride said that he’d been forced to borrow a bow he was not used to.
That same day, McBride wrote on his Facebook page: “Now it’s confirmed. I can tell you that the good ol’ TSA [America’s Transportation Security Administration] confiscated (aka stole) my brand-new bow right out of my hard case . . . I arrived in Saskatoon only to find the bow missing inside the case to my Lemur Travel Bass.”
He added: “Maybe they thought it was a weapon (idiotic) or they were looking for ivory, of which there wasn’t any. I will get to the bottom of this.”
McBride, one of America’s leading jazz bassists, has played with James Brown, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock.
JazzFest director Darryl Mar said McBride would have to borrow a bow for his final Canadian date in Vancouver on Tuesday. He said he did not know whether it was Canadian or American customs officers who confiscated the bow.
The Associated Press reported this week that musicians are concerned that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s stricter rules on transporting items containing elephant ivory are inflicting unintended complications on the music community.
The new strategy for fighting trafficking through enforcement, approved by President Barak Obama in February, puts a near complete ban on the commercial trade of elephant ivory.
This month, U.S. customs agents at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport refused clearance for ivory-tipped bows owned by members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra because the items lacked proper permits.
Heather Noonan, vice-president for advocacy for the League of American Orchestras, said members have worries because the permitting system is confusing and it limits the airports musicians can fly through.
Noonan said a great number of professional and student musicians are playing with bows that contain a small quantity of African elephant ivory, which were legally crafted and legally obtained. She said it’s unlikely that they would have asked for particular documentation when they purchased the bows.
— with a file from
the Associated Press