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LIVE REVIEWS

Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band at Sculler's Jazz Club

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Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band Sculler's Jazz Club Cambridge, MA November 10, 2017 I walked into the lobby of the Doubletree Hotel, home of Sculler's Jazz Club, at 9:40pm to find it packed, swarming with fans of Brian Blade eager to snap up a copy of his new album before the 10 o'clock set. In the middle of that swarm, I noticed Jeff Prystowsky, the mustachioed empresario behind the Low Anthem, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band: Body and Shadow

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Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2017. Body and Shadow is only their fifth album: they have not recorded prolifically, but each one has been worth the wait. The group occupies a unique space: the sound of Americana (chiefly folk music) is dominant, but played with a jazz sensibility. Despite the considerable technical firepower in the band, it has always kept the focus on the ensemble sound rather than on soloists. For this outing drummer ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Cowherd Quartet: featuring Steve Cardenas, Tony Scherr and Brian Blade: Gateway

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Pianist/keyboardist Jon Cowherd has been a regular member of the Brian Blade Fellowship through its four releases dating back to the group's self-titled debut in 1998 (Blue Note Records). He has recorded with Cassandra Wilson, Lizz Wright and Myron Walden (also of Fellowship) as well, but the Kentucky native has a background that extends to country (Rosanne Cash), folk rock (Marc Cohn), and punk (Iggy Pop). The latter contribution--to be clear--was not Mr. Pop's typical outing as it employed brass ...

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 ...