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 Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Selective Coverage CD/LP/Track Review
Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "More Songs About Error And Shame" CD/LP/Track Review More Songs About Error And Shame
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "Invisible Atlas" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Atlas
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 24, 2018
Read "Ninety-Nine Years" CD/LP/Track Review Ninety-Nine Years
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 13, 2018
Read "Free Sessions Vol. 1: Planets Of Kei" CD/LP/Track Review Free Sessions Vol. 1: Planets Of Kei
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 27, 2017
Read "Any Other Way" CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Passion Reverence Transcendence" CD/LP/Track Review Passion Reverence Transcendence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 17, 2018