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Brian Blade Fellowship: Perceptual

Jim Santella By

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Fellowship lead instrumentalists Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jon Cowherd and Brian Blade work the modern mainstream of jazz through creative impressionism and expressive jams. Saxophonists Melvin Butler and Myron Walden work alongside bass and pedal steel guitar to produce a distinctive set of timbres. They're thrilling from start to finish; and yet, Fellowship is driven by a drummer who prefers to remain in the back seat. Twenty-nine year old Blade builds sonic landscapes based on the nightly news and all else that occupies our thoughts. It's mainstream jazz for today's society. After all, whatever is reported from the next town or the other side of the world could very well turn out to be tomorrow's news in our own neighborhood. Fellowship's credo reflects, in part, a sincere feeling that we're all brothers and that whatever affects the others makes a difference to us all.

With a few lyrics here and there and a guest appearance by Joni Mitchell, the program features original compositions by members of the ensemble. Frequent meter changes suit their purpose, as impressions of boyhood memories, social issues, and related emotions take center stage. Rosenwinkel's guitar breathes fire on "Evinrude-Fifty" and "Crooked Creek." Both saxophonists and the pedal steel guitar offer crucial impressions, particularly on "Crooked Creek." Highly recommended, Fellowship's second Blue Note album reflects upon contemporary social issues through its distinctive, contemporary, modern jazz sound.

Track Listing: Perceptual; Evinrude-Fifty; Reconciliation, Crooked Creek; Patron Saint of Girls; The Sunday Boys; Variations on a Blood Line: From the Same Blood, Fellowship, Mustangs; Steadfast; Trembling

Personnel: Brian Blade- drums, guitar & vocals; Melvin Butler- tenor & soprano saxophone; Jon Cowherd- piano & keyboards; Dave Easley- pedal steel guitar; Kurt Rosenwinkel- electric & acoustic guitars; Christopher Thomas- bass; Myron Walden- alto sax & bass clarinet; Daniel Lanois- guitars (tracks 8 & 9 only); Joni Mitchell- vocal (track 8 only) (53:55)

Title: Perceptual | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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