Divine TravelsSony Masterworks | OKeh
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Even for an artist hailed by Ebony Magazine as one of "7 Young Players to Watch" who has studied with jazz heavyweights like Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, Dave Douglas, Joshua Redman, and Matthew Shipp, it takes considerable confidence and courage for a young musician to match wits with veteran improvisers like William Parker and Gerald Cleaver. But on his second release, Divine Travels, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis does just that, not only holding his own with that masterful rhythm section but leading them down fresh and unexpected pathways.
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Saxophonist; James Brandon Lewis embodies and transcends tradition / The New York Times
The New York Times - Giovanni Russonello......When James Brandon Lewis plays the saxophone, he usually plants his feet shoulder width apart and bends a bit at the knee, swaying and tunneling into a rhythmic flow. As a bandleader, he almost exclusively performs his own compositions, which have melodies that roam, dart and soar but often stay grounded in a pulse. Even when the music reaches a cruising ...
James Brandon Lewis pays homage to George Washington Carver's pioneering legacy on Jesup Wagon / 88.3WBGO - Take Five
88.3WBGO's Nate Chinen writes......Chemurgy, an early-20th century innovation, was the concept of repurposing raw agricultural materials in industrial products - perhaps best exemplified by the Ford Motor Company's use of soybeans and hemp in its automotive line. Henry Ford developed this initiative in close consultation with the Father of Chemurgy: George Washington Carver, an agricultural inven...
James Brandon Lewis talks to 'Morning Star' about the new album 'Molecular' and moment where everything feels fine and other-worldly
JAMES BRANDON LEWIS is an inventive and freedom-seeking tenor saxophonist, whose surging patterns of sound resonate all through the new album Molecular he's cut with his quartet. He talks to Chris Searle about the the state he's seeking. From an early age, he became interested in all the jazz greats: "Parker, Coltrane, Rollins and Ornette -- I love the whole continuum," he tells me, "I love...
KBCO's Bret Saunders has new jazz you should introduce into your rotation / The Know
Even though it's relatively early in the year, there's a lot of invigorating new music to pique the interest of anyone open to the newest developments in jazz. Expect a couple of the following releases to be listed among the best of 2019. This is an exciting time to be a follower of the music, so you might want to invite some of these sounds into your life. James Brandon Lewis is on a hot streak of r...
James Brandon Lewis, 'Sir Real Denard' is RollingStone: Song You Need to Know
Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis combines funky rhythms and avant-garde textures on a track from his new album 'An UnRuly Manifesto.' There's no easy shorthand for James Brandon Lewis' musical M.O. Ever since his early releases - 2010's Moments, 2014's Divine Travels - the saxophonist has balanced a deep, gospel-informed spirituality with free-jazz abandon and hard-hitting funk-meets–hip-hop...
James Brandon Lewis, Cecile McLorin Salvant make The New York Times 'Best Jazz of 2018'
Some of the most trusted names in jazz and a host of innovative young disrupters brought cross-media collaborations and fresh approaches to the genre. The New York Times 'Best Jazz of 2018 includes; 8. James Brandon Lewis/Chad Taylor, ‘Radiant Imprints' On this duo album, James Brandon Lewis honors John Coltrane by isolating parts of his compositions, diving into the source mat...
A soft soul groove took shape at Blues Alley with Heroes Are Gang Leaders / Washington Post
Poetry and jazz aren't strange bedfellows. Amiri Baraka regularly performed with jazz accompaniment at Bohemian Caverns. Rarely has a collective of multiple poets and musicians taken to D.C. stages in recent years, however - and even in more distant years there surely weren't many concerts like the one Heroes Are Gang Leaders put on at Blues Alley on Tuesday night. It was something like poetry and jazz a...
James Brandon Lewis - Days of FreeMan Picked - Best of 2015 NPR Jazz Critics Poll
NPR Music is pleased to present the results of a poll where 147 jazz critics selected their favorite recordings of 2015. For 10 consecutive years, this poll has been a labor of love by eminent critic Francis Davis. It's grown tremendously since he initially submitted the consensus of 30 writers to The Village Voice in 2006. Over the last month, print journalists, bloggers and broadcaste...
James Brandon Lewis - Days of Freeman / Audiophile Audition
There is depth to tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis' music. Lewis' previous project, Divine Travels (2014) focused on spirituality, with some other minor themes. That album showed Lewis' maturity as composer and performer, and on his third effort, the hour-long Days of FreeMan, Lewis continues his escalation of ideas, themes, performance, composition, improvisation and creativity. Days of FreeMan cov...
James Brandon Lewis - Days Of FreeMan makes Washington Post 'best of' for August
Visionary composer and tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis's bravest, yet most palpable artistic feat, opens with a poignant and profound introductory monologue from a maternal sage. She says: "The best thing of living is living who you are. You can't be somebody else; you gotta be what God gave you to be and who you are. You look in the mirror and see yourself and say ‘I&...
James Brandon Lewis - Days Of FreeMan / Classicalite review
There are those who would say that the third CD of composer/tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, Days Of FreeMan, is not jazz. I would remind those naysayers that in the 1940s, Dizzy Gillespie was accused of the same thing. When asked why his jazz wasn't swing, he'd invariably confound interviewers by saying, "I don't play jazz. I play bebop." On Days Of FreeMan (named after the street ...
James Brandon Lewis - Days Of FreeMan / Downbeat
On July 25, the day after OKeh Records released James Brandon Lewis' sophomore album, Days Of FreeMan, the tenor saxophonist delivered a blistering set at Washington, D.C.'s Bohemian Caverns. His performance underscored a new shift in his thematic focus. Whereas Lewis' 2014 disc, Divine Travels, centered on gospel themes and a free-jazz aesthetic, the new disc finds him reinvestigating earl...
James Brandon Lewis - Days of Freeman / Buffalo News review
"I didn't grow up a hip-hop head," says James Brandon Lewis, "but where I grew up in Buffalo, New York, on Freeman Street, the sound of hip-hop was ubiquitous. I decided to go back and explore that time through music."
Don't look now but the most spectacular marriage of jazz and hip-hop yet just came from an utterly extraordinary young tenor saxophonist from Buffalo who, quite frankly, m...
James Brandon Lewis' 'Wading Child in the Motherless Water' featured on NPR Music: 50 Favorite Songs Of 2014 (So Far)
A one-time gospel saxophonist turns free jazz, weaving together two spirituals while caught up in the Holy Ghost trance. James Brandon Lewis' performance of Wading Child in the Motherless Water from his album, Divine Travels, is featured on NPR Music's list of 50 Favorite Songs of 2014 (So Far). ...
James Brandon Lewis on finding the road least traveled / Capitalbop interview
Can a focused mind wander? Can a peaceful person do battle? Contrasts and unlikely associations seem to guide the young saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, perhaps none more than this one: How does complication and murkiness help you access something simple-even elemental? Lewis, 30, was raised playing jazz and gospel in Buffalo, N.Y., then educated at Howard University and the California Institute of t...
James Brandon Lewis - Divine Travels / JazzTimes review
Quite tonal (and tuneful), Divine Travels is nonetheless free jazz. It's the major-label debut of tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, quite a departure from the R&B earthiness of 2011's self-released Moments. Two masters of the avant-garde, bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver, join Lewis here for 10 experiments with improvisation in melody, groove and texture. The results ar...
James Brandon Lewis - Divine Travels / Audiophile Audition review
Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis takes us on a spiritual journey on his sophomore release, the aptly named Divine Travels. Over the course of Lewis' ten original compositions, which add up to 67 minutes, the NYC-based Lewis traverses a path which combines elements of free or avant-garde jazz, post-bop and the kind of auditory terrain which John Coltrane navigated toward the end of his career. On Divine Tr...
James Brandon Lewis - Divine Travels / Jazz Da Gama Review
James Brandon Lewis' inspired recording Divine Travels follows what would appear to be a series of bluesy, apocalyptic shouts and masterful honking following what is a long and deeply felt epiphany. That the revelation comes in the form of a mighty musical expedition is fortuitous as it reveals Mr. Lewis to me not only a deep and spiritual soul, which is really something lacking in musicians today, with ...
James Brandon Lewis - Divine Travels / 'all about jazz' review
An auspicious major label debut for saxophonist James Brandon Lewis on - Divine Travels for an unpretentious bluesy jazz recording. Lewis, a thirty-something tenor saxophone phenom chose to record here in trio without the safety net of a pianist or accompanying horn. READ THE FULL All About Jazz REVIEW....