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Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band-- Seasons of Changes


Josh Hurst
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This is exciting! I remember Thom's recommendation of Blades' work a couple of years ago, but my explorations of his recommendations were very limited. Now I have an album to latch on to, perhaps a gateway to his other work.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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This is exciting! I remember Thom's recommendation of Blades' work a couple of years ago, but my explorations of his recommendations were very limited. Now I have an album to latch on to, perhaps a gateway to his other work.

I have very little experience with his past albums, actually, but I do know that the dynamic of the band is a bit different on this album, as they've lost their pedal steel player-- who was in many ways their calling card, the thing that set them apart. Then again, I'm pretty sure Thom's review at AMG, or perhaps some of his comments here at A&F, come pretty close to calling this Blade's best album yet.

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Very cool. I'm listening now.

Just curious: This set is hosted by someone named Josh Jackson. Isn't there a Josh Jackson associated with Paste Magazine? Could this be the same guy?

Anyway, back to the music...

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bought this last night, with Joe Henry's Civilians. I've listened twice, and so far this is the better of the two CDs, IMHO. 8O But that's a stupid comparison; the music on the two CDs is vastly different, of course.

I own a decent amount of jazz, but I don't have much jazz that sounds like this. The closest comparison I can come up with, based on my admittedly limited range of listening, is one or two records by the Dave Holland Quintet. Those CDs are superb, as is this one. I can't wait to plug in my headphones and listen more closely.

The song titles say a lot, don't they? The liner notes are sparse. I want to know more about Blade and his fellow musicians. I guess I should start at AMG. I've yet to read Thom's review of this CD. I'll go do that now.

Thanks, Josh, for recommending this one. Borders had a few copies, but had I not been looking for it, I wouldn't have noticed it.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 4 years later...

Josh, did you ever hear, or review, Friendly Travelers, Blades' album with Wolfgang Muthspiel? I'm only hearing it for the first time today, and on first listen, I'm finding it as impressive as anything I've heard from Blades. I'm not sure how much credit goes to Muthspiel, as I'm having some difficulty finding full credits for the songs on the CD.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 8 months later...

News!

 

Brady [blade]'s new Mid-City Records label will be releasing Brian's new recording with The Fellowship Band, Landmarks, in the spring (in conjunction with Blue Note Records). ...

 

Tell me about your father, Brady Blade Sr., who has been the pastor of the Zion Baptist Church in your hometown of Shreveport for 52 years. What kind of influence did he and the church have on your musical development?

 

Brian: My father and my mother. My mother Dorothy taught kindergarten for 25 years. They're both teachers and instilled the desire to learn and to be taught. If we wanted to learn something and they couldn't teach it to us, it'd be 'get them a teacher, get them a coach.'

 

That transference of the love of music came to Brady and myself from Brady Sr. In church, my father gave us the opportunity to be part of the worship service and it laid a bedrock for every other musical situation that we would take part in. The things I learned playing with those great singers — my father being the primary one and then the congregation — how praise would be at the foreground of what we were doing. It made everything else make sense later when I wasn't in church — what music was about for me. I'm thankful we had that opportunity. When I'm home on a Wednesday or Sunday, I'm at the drums! It's great. It remains a part of my life.

 

Brady: In the biggest sense ever. I was exposed to gospel since I came out of my mother's womb. I probably heard it in the womb, too. Brian and I both started playing drums in church. And I think we try to apply that feeling of playing in church to whatever music we're playing: jazz, punk rock. The emotions that come from that — it's just unbelievable. It brings me great joy, as I think it does for Brian.

 

My dad's a great singer, a great bass player. He's got a band called the Hallelujah Train. Brian and I double on drums, [guitarist] Daniel Lanois, U2's producer Malcolm Burn, and Buddy Miller, who's now the [musical] head for the TV show Nashville. So it's this all-star band, a 25-member choir and a girl named Sereca Henderson on Hammond B-3. This is the best band I've ever been in. And my old man is the front guy. He's 74 years old and he's killing it.

 

--Embedded video of the Hallelujah Train at the linked article.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 1 month later...

I learned today that both Vijay Iyer and Regina Carter have new albums out this week.

 

These two recordings are at opposite ends of the jazz spectrum. Ms. Carter continues to find fresh and exciting ways to interpret music that was once part of the popular vernacular, and Mr. Iyer's work straddles the blurry line between jazz and contemporary classical music. Yet, taken together, they are potent evidence that people who feel that there is nothing new in jazz simply aren't listening very closely.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 6 years later...

I didn't want to start an album-specific thread, but last week I stumbled - I don't recall how - onto the album Angular Blues, by a trio consisting of Blade on drums, Scott Colley on bass, and Wolfgang Muthspiel on guitar. I was familiar only with Blade from that trio, but loving much of the drummer's other work, decided it might be worth a listen.

It is. Indeed, I think it's the best jazz album - trio or otherwise - I've heard in a few years. The interplay is bracing, and Blade in particular is in fine form. I found myself growing more and more impressed as I listened to the album, but having grown pretty rusty with my new-music listening, thought I'd test my reaction against reviews of the album. I began my investigation by visiting AllMusic, where I discovered a very impressive 4.5 stars (out of 5) rating - and a review written by Thom Jurek! It was gratifying to know that my reaction wasn't off-base, and a pleasure to read Thom again. 

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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16 minutes ago, Christian said:

- and a review written by Thom Jurek! It was gratifying to know that my reaction wasn't off-base, and a pleasure to read Thom again. 

Nothing to add about this particular album, but just to chime in that I get that pleasing jolt as well when I come across Thom's writing, as I did this weekend, in reading his February review of the latest album by Sepultura, a Brazilian thrash/prog/jazz metal band.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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