Saturday, June 07, 2008

Godly melodies mark "Seasons of Change," new album by Brian Blade and Fellowship sextet

Brian Blade
Originally uploaded by Jazz in Black 'n White
Listening to the new album by Brian Blade and the Fellowship from the samples at transports me to a joyous place. The melodies are magnificent.

Blade and fellow composers in his sextet have found a compositional comfort zone between jazz, pop and folk that uses modern jazz as the lingua franca. Before and after the relatively predictable sax-guitar-piano crescendos are distinct, lyrical passages based on bold melodies. Listening to the 8-minute exuberance called "Crooked tree" I can tell that I will find new elements of richness with each listening.

But the tune that makes me shiver is called "Stoner Hill." The melody is stately, elegiac, perhaps, but most of all the melody arches across an emotional space. It is Blades' "Bridge over troubled waters."

I would have called the tune "Greenwood Road," because I can see a lengthy journey down a tree-lined highway past rolling hills. But "Stoner Hill" it will be. When he was a teen Blade attended Caddo Magnet High, and I know he had a good time in the artful environment built on Stoner Hill by the Magnet community, which included the Blade family.

See more on Blades' recent music at
Find out more about Blade and the Fellowship and order the album at
Photo © Yann Renoult:Gallery.

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