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Album Review

James Brandon Lewis: For Mahalia With Love (Expanded Edition)

Read "For Mahalia With Love (Expanded Edition)" reviewed by Stefano Merighi

La musica di James Brandon Lewis è potente, assertiva, trascinante. Ma rivela talvolta, sotto lo strato di forza, una sottile e affascinante vulnerabilità emotiva, che rende ancora più ricco il suo discorso compositivo e solistico. Come nel caso di questo scintillante omaggio al mondo espressivo di Mahalia Jackson, che si realizza attraverso memorie familiari, quelle della nonna che ha trasmesso a James questa passione tuttora bruciante. Lewis è una delle voci più convincenti del jazz contemporaneo che non ...

Album Review

James Brandon Lewis: For Mahalia With Love (Expanded Edition)

Read "For Mahalia With Love (Expanded Edition)" reviewed by Chris May

Not since Oded Tzur's Isabela (ECM, 2022) has a comparably exalted tenor saxophone-led album come along, not until For Mahalia, With Love. Vaultingly great jazz and deep solace for the soul, For Mahalia, With Love was released in late 2023. An annual cycle for albums of this quality is actually a sufficiency, for there is enough in both these, and those that preceded them, to last a listener a lifetime. File next to John Coltrane's Crescent (Impulse!, 1964) and Albert ...

Album Review

Roy Campbell: Visitation Of Spirits

Read "Visitation Of Spirits" reviewed by John Sharpe

A former stalwart of the New York avant jazz scene, which finds expression at the annual Vision Festival, trumpeter Roy Campbell died in January 2014, aged 61. While not quite forgotten, his name does not spring readily to the lips a decade on. Perhaps Visitation Of Spirits, an archival live recording from 1985, will help redress that situation. It features the Pyramid Trio, one of Campbell's more enduring groups, which issued three albums over a lifespan of more than 25 ...

Album Review

James Brandon Lewis / Red Lily Quintet: For Mahalia, With Love

Read "For Mahalia, With Love" reviewed by Pat Youngspiel

Moving on chronologically from George Washington Carver--the African-American musician and influential agricultural scientist to whom James Brandon Lewis' previous recording with the Red Lily Quintet, Jesup Wagon (Tao Forms 2021), was dedicated--For Mahalia, With Love continues the pattern of paying homage to influential Afro-Americans who, in their own way, changed the course of history. This album's dedicatee is the early gospel queen Mahalia Jackson, whose seminal performances lit a spark in the saxophonist's grandmother; she in turn carried the spark ...

Album Review

James Brandon Lewis: For Mahalia With Love

Read "For Mahalia With Love" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis has been establishing himself in various contexts for the last few years, but his main focus lately has been on his Red Lily Quintet. Their first album, Jesup Wagon, (TAO Forms, 2021), was dedicated to African-American scientist, George Washington Carver. On their 2023 release, the group's music focuses on the work of the legendary gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson. This tribute takes the form of interpretations of familiar spirituals Jackson often sang. The gospel-derived ...

Album Review

Steve Swell's Fire Into The Music: For Jemeel: Fire From The Road

Read "For Jemeel: Fire From The Road" reviewed by Alberto Bazzurro

Oltre tre ore di musica catturate in altrettante esibizioni live fra Texas (due, ottobre 2004) e Canada (la restante, settembre 2005) e oggi rese opportunamente disponibili sono ciò che ci offre questo triplo album composito ma per altri versi assolutamente monolitico. Lo firma un superquartetto, sempre quello, che attraversa i sette ampi brani (il primo occupa l'intero primo cd) con fare deciso, ottima capacità di gestire l'evolversi della musica prodotta, i suoi spazi intestini, felicemente bilanciati fra parti corali e ...

Album Review

James Brandon Lewis Red Lily Quintet: For Mahalia With Love

Read "For Mahalia With Love" reviewed by John Sharpe

The combination of James Brandon Lewis' impassioned tenor saxophone and songs associated with gospel singer and Civil Rights activist Mahalia Jackson is a match made in heaven. On For Mahalia, With Love by his Red Lily Quintet, Lewis retains the crack squad which made Jesup Wagon (Tao Forms, 2021) a success. Even though Lewis has a proven knack for crafting an affecting melody, he has chosen well as this repertoire has not only stood the test of time, but is ...


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