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EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Wolfgang Muthspiel: Driftwood

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Since studying at Berklee College of Music and returning to his home in Austria--though not before releasing a number of American-based recordings either on his own or as a member of bands led by people like Gary Burton, Marc Johnson and Patricia Barber--guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel has largely been focusing on his career through Material Records, the label he founded at the turn of the millennium. And while he's released no shortage of fine recordings for the label--including both studio and ...

INTERVIEWS

Brian Blade: Fellowship - More Than Just a Word

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In the 21st century, few drummers have managed Brian Blade's kind of crossover success. Beyond playing in saxophonist Wayne Shorter's quartet for nearly 15 years, beyond being a first-call drummer for producer/singer/songwriter Daniel Lanois--whether it's for his own projects like Black Dub or working with everyone from Bob Dylan to EmmyLou Harris--and beyond also being on-call with some of the most important names in modern music (not just jazz, but music) like Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones, John Scofield and Kenny ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band: Landmarks

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Drummer Brian Blade is a rhythmic force of nature that moves with both fire and finesse. He's contributed to numerous recordings and performances around the globe most notably as a member of the esteemed Wayne Shorter Quartet for over 10 years. Yet at the heart of Blade's own music lies a storyteller delivering tales of poignant rural settings and down-to-earth familiarity expressed through his ongoing Fellowship Band comprised of a close-knit ensemble of friends and stellar jazz musicians. Landmarks is ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band: Landmarks

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Four records in 16 years may not be prolific, but clearly Brian Blade and his longstanding Fellowship Band aren't about quantity. While a seemingly scant two years separated the drummer's leader debut (and inspiration for the group name), Fellowship (Blue Note, 1998) from its even more impressive follow-up, Perceptual (Blue Note, 2002), the group's next record, Season of Changes (Verve) came a full eight years later in 2008, and beyond a label change also reflected the trimming down of the ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Brian Blade & Friends at Highline Ballroom

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Brian Blade & FriendsHighline BallroomNew York, New YorkJune 24, 2009Brian Blade took the Highline Ballroom stage on a humid Wednesday night to mark the release of his singer-songwriter album, Mama Rosa (Verve Music Group, 2009). There was relatively little fanfare, appropriate given Blade's humble disposition and the no-frills content of Mama Rosa and the show to come. Blade wasn't even the first musician to speak. When he and guitarist Daniel Lanois ambled up onstage, Lanois ...

INTERVIEWS

Brian Blade: Songs From His Heart

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Known in the jazz world for his slick and superlative drumming skills, Brian Blade is engaged in making other musical statements these days. Statements that are outside the jazz genre, but are an essential part of this enlightened man and serious musician whose musical tastes run “between Bela Bartok and Wayne Shorter to Al Green," who, he adds, all intermingle for him.

The Shreveport, Louisiana., native has contributed his considerable talents as a drummer for projects with Joshua ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brian Blade: Mama Rosa

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After a lengthy gap between records with his Fellowship Band, drummer Brian Blade has stepped up the pace, following up the unmistakable sound of Season of Changes (Verve, 2008) with Mama Rosa. Blade temporarily deserts the folkloric jazz context of his longstanding group, instead delivering a singer/songwriter album that's just as compelling. Different in nature it may be, but in its own way it makes perfect sense for the introspective and deeply spiritual Blade. Blade's always had a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wolfgang Muthspiel / Brian Blade: Friendly Travelers Live

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This terrific two-disc package--identically sequenced in-concert CD and DVD recordings made in Austria in 2007--finds guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel and drummer Brian Blade performing half a dozen tracks from their studio album Friendly Travelers (Material Records, 2007) and another, “Shanghai," from Muthspiel's trio album with bassist Matthias Pichler and drummer Andreas Pichler Bright Side (Material Records, 2006).

Like fellow guitarist Pat Metheny--whose extreme technical virtuosity he shares, and to whose cascading lyricism he adds an enjoyable astringency--Muthspiel enjoys playing ...



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