All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

7

James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Radiant Imprints

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
When saxophonist James Brandon Lewis released Divine Travels (Okeh, 2014) with bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver, the jazz world went from "who is this guy?" to "make space at the table," because listeners had discovered a truly distinctive voice. After that came Days Of Freeman (Okeh, 2015) with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Rudy Royston and No Filter (BNS Records, 2017) where Lewis injected hip hop culture and punk rock into improvised music without resorting to the dreaded crutch of jazz/rock fusion.

With Radiant Imprints he doesn't so much circle back to Divine Travels as he advances his stature as a keeper of the flame. Specifically the blaze lit by John Coltrane. Where his previous recordings were trio outings, here he strips down further to a duo with Chad Taylor. The much in demand drummer founded the Chicago Underground ensembles and performed with Fred Anderson. Currently he can be heard with the likes of Jaimie Branch, Jason Stein, Eric Revis, and Jeff Parker.

Coltrane is indeed a touchstone here. Lewis' "Radiance" is his retelling of "Seraphic Light" from Trane's Stellar Regions (Impulse, 1995) with Rashied Ali. Taylor's drum introduction opens the piece, more melody oriented than Ali, and Lewis follows with a spiritually uplifting saxophone chant. The pair eschews a repertory approach to Coltrane's music, choosing to frame their personal statements within the idiom. "Imprints" takes it's structure from Coltrane's classic "Impressions," but it invokes more of a "Giant Steps" ouroboros approach, working and reworking the melody into a complex mathematical expression of all its parts. Like Coltrane, the saxophonist is almost daring other horn players to follow his path.

Taylor is a perfect collaborator here. He is best described as a hybrid mix of Elvin Jones and Billy Higgins. On "First Born" and "With Sorrow Lonnie" (a retelling of "Lonnie's Lament') he plays the mriba, an African thumb piano. Lewis provides plenty of space for Taylor to lead here, and their collaboration on the final track "Improve I" exhibits the duo's sympathetic nature. While the intensity continually ramps up, neither musician switches into a combative mode. Together, they build a majestic house.

Track Listing: Twenty Four; Loved One; With Sorrow Lonnie; Imprints; First Born; Radiance; Improve I.

Personnel: James Brandon Lewis: saxophone; Chad Taylor: drums.

Title: Radiant Imprints | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Off Record Label

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Unleashed" CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Standards" CD/LP/Track Review Standards
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Whose Feet are These That are Walking" CD/LP/Track Review Whose Feet are These That are Walking
by Mike Jacobs
Published: October 9, 2017
Read "Stinkin' 3.0" CD/LP/Track Review Stinkin' 3.0
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Open Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Open Borders
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Takunde" CD/LP/Track Review Takunde
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 8, 2017