Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

8

Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band: Landmarks

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
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 the group's fourth release and a return to Blue Note following its move to Verve for 2008's Season of Changes, after Perceptual (Blue Note, 2000), on which the group adopted the name of Blade's leader debut, also on Blue Note, Fellowship (1998).

The gently stirred mix of folklore, blues, gospel, and jazz are each a part of the Fellowship Band's appeal through compositions that render lasting imagery. The music was penned by Blade and longtime collaborator and pianist Jon Cowherd, two seminal artists that have shared a connection since meeting in college years ago. The result is a wide canvas of thought-provoking tracks.

The images in Landmarks are painted with the geographical and social colors of Blade's hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, beginning with Cowherd playing mellotron on the surreal opening "Down River," followed by the vastness and warmth of the title track. Contributing Fellowship members each take part in the the track's unfolding: the measured bass intro from Chris Thomas, lush reed harmonies from Myron Walden (alto saxophone, bass clarinet) and Melvin Butler (soprano and tenor saxophone), and Cowherd's spiritually tinged piano solo.

The eleven-minute "Ark.La.Tex." would make the perfect movie soundtrack as it moves through dramatic themes, heady swing, and an ethereal climax right before seguing into the appropriately placed version of the American folk song, "Shenandoah." This same gravitas is found in the serenity of "Friends," where Walden's bass clarinet purrs as Blade issues gentle traps, and the thirteen-minute "Farewell Bluebird," named for a café that Blade frequented during his New Orleans years. It contains a riveting theme with subtle changes that include gritty slide guitar work from Marvin Sewell and a restful repeating hook featuring a deep saxophone solo.

Landmarks is a fine return for the Fellowship Band, whose music continues to evoke substance and feeling through its empathetic leader and his skillful band mates.

Tags

Listen

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Live Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band: Body and Shadow

Brian Blade & The...

Blue Note Records
2017

buy
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band: Landmarks

Brian Blade & The...

Blue Note Records
2014

buy
Mama Rosa

Mama Rosa

Verve Music Group
2009

buy
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band: Season Of Changes

Brian Blade & The...

Verve Music Group
2008

buy
Perceptual

Perceptual

Blue Note Records
2000

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Apr13Sat
Chick Corea with Christian McBride and Brian Blade
Schmidtchen Theater
Cape May, NJ
$68
Jul18Thu
Life Cycles
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00
Jul18Thu
Life Cycles
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00
Jul19Fri
Life Cycles
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00
Jul19Fri
Life Cycles
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00
Jul20Sat
Life Cycles
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00
Jul20Sat
Life Cycles
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$20.00

Related Articles

Read Live at Frankie's Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at Frankie's Jazz Club
By Jack Bowers
March 24, 2019
Read Asperger Album Reviews
Asperger
By Don Phipps
March 24, 2019
Read The Fire Each Time Album Reviews
The Fire Each Time
By Mark Corroto
March 24, 2019
Read NauMay Album Reviews
NauMay
By Jerome Wilson
March 24, 2019
Read Molly Tigre Album Reviews
Molly Tigre
By Chris M. Slawecki
March 24, 2019
Read School of Fish Album Reviews
School of Fish
By Dan McClenaghan
March 23, 2019
Read Blood Album Reviews
Blood
By John Sharpe
March 23, 2019