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Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band at Zipper Concert Hall 11/12/10

November 17, 2010

I don’t see enough music … well, music that I’m not directly involved in that is. Music (and I’m sure this is the same for any arts discipline) can feel so vocational to me; I don’t pursue seeing live music as much as I should. Its like I tell myself  “if I have some free time I don’t want sit and think critically about music for a couple of hours” when in reality a strong live performance can be the perfect antidote for thinking too vocationally about music. Such was the case last Friday when me and a friend saw Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band. The concert was held in a gorgeous concert hall at the Colburn School, a private school for performing arts in downtown L.A.

The Fellowship is one of my favorite bands of all time; its jazz with a folk/Americana angle, very melodic, moody, … very unique but at the same time very accessible, even comforting. You’re not going to see a typical jazz show with the Fellowship, virtuosic instrumental showmanship over traditional swing feels have no place with this band. Don’t get me wrong, these musicians are on the highest level and the band gets to flex their musicianship, but it all serves the composition and the group concept. Brian Blade is arguably one of the top 5 drummers on the planet, Christopher Thomas is a solid bassist who used to be in Joshua Redman’s band, John Cowherd is a terrifically musical pianist who also writes quite a bit for the group, Melvin Butler is soulful tenor/soprano saxist, and Myron Walden is one of the most unique alto sax players around who also plays bass clarinet in the band. The Fellowship usually features the great Kurt Rosenwinkle on guitar but he wasn’t a part of this performance, he keep quite busy as a bandleader himself; Jeff Parker of the Chicago Post-Rock band Tortoise played guitar.

I really don’t know what to say about the concert. It was just phenomenal. The band plays so well together. The music is intense but rarely aggressive. Every composition sets a different mood even if they similar in tempo or groove. And Brian Blade is amazing to watch, he plays with such joy and lights a fire under everything.  It was an inspiring evening. Here’s “Stoner Hill” from the band’s latest release:

I learned my lesson that night. More live music.

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. khm permalink
    November 19, 2010 8:28 am

    I’ve been there–after Rob’s near-catastrophe of illness I promised I’d never go more than three months without live music. It does feed the soul.

    This is beautiful. I’d buy it right now if I shouldn’t be putting every disc I want on my Amazon wishlisht at this time of year. It reminds me a bit of some of the wide open compositions on Mehldau’s “Highway Rider”…. I want it.

    • November 19, 2010 10:29 am

      They have three records out, “Perceptual” and the most recent are the best.

      • khm permalink
        November 19, 2010 12:09 pm

        I have Perceptual. I put Change of Seasons on my wishlist although deferring musical gratification is a HUGE challenge for me.

        Ciao–

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