Nov 23 2017
It’s a happy day that sees a new release from Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band. Body and Shadow has all the intense surges, cinematic imagery and moody contemplation as its predecessors, but on their newest, the ensemble winds up tight those qualities, resulting in a more confidently expressed vision and succinct method at communicating it. The distance between fireplace warmth and jolt of electricity is as thin as it ever was on a Fellowship album, and that’s why this session comes off as something a little different, even though it’s not a departure by any other measure.
As tracks like “Within Everything” and “Traveling Mercies” show, the melodic sighs still resonate with massive strength and beauty. And as “Body and Shadow (Noon)” and “Body and Shadow (Night)” illustrate, the band’s talent at marrying imagery with ambiance hasn’t eroded, not even a little bit.
Recorded at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island, their fifth album marks twenty years together for the band. Vacillating between expressions of fiery intensity and sublime melodicism isn’t so simple a convergence to manifest, but when the volatility spikes on “Duality,” it stays engaged with the catchy tunefulness that led up to that boiling point, just as it does with the peacefulness that led things off.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Of the many things to be grateful for, add a new Brian Blade Fellowship recording to that list.
Your album personnel: Brian Blade (drums), Jon Cowherd (piano, harmonium, mellotron), Chris Thomas (bass), Myron Walden (alto sax, bass clarinet), Melvin Butler (tenor sax), Dave Devine (guitar).
Released on Blue Note Records.
Listen to another album track on the artist’s Soundcloud page.
Available at: Amazon