Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band: Landmarks

Album review
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band: Landmarks

Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band


Label: Blue Note
Media: CD
Genre: Jazz

As drummer Blade exhibits a remarkably intuitive sense behind the kit; every stroke, every cymbal crash seems to come from a deep place more to do with sheer emotion than notes on the page. As composer and leader of The Fellowship Band (which includes pianist and longtime collaborator Jon Cowherd), Blade steers a through-composed course that touches on folk music, gospel, deep blues, timeless hymns, and epic tone poems, with Landmarks coming across like a soundtrack to a nostalgic movie about the Deep South filmed by Wes Anderson. Recorded at Blade’s home studio in Shreveport, Louisiana, it includes nostalgic odes to Blade’s mother Dorothy (“Friends Called Her Dot”), his niece (“Bonnie Be Good”), and the cafe he frequented during his New Orleans years (“Farewell Bluebird”). Cowherd effectively uses pump organ to conjure up a timeless churchy feel on the traditional “Shenandoah,” which has Myron Walden’s bass clarinet blending with Melvin Butler’s tenor sax. Blade evokes a hypnotic Native American vibe on the intro to “He Died Fighting,” which develops into an elevated jam that has Walden calling in the spirits on alto sax. This ambitious outing resonates with real feelings about real people and real places.

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  • primary artist, Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band

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