With the many evocative recordings now available, saxophonist/composer James Brandon Lewis is back with another astute recording. On the heels of his 2018 album RADIANT IMPRINTS and last year’s MOLECULAR, Lewis shows up with the ambitious JESUP which as I hear it renders the brazen octaves, patterns, and nuances expressed on Coltrane advant-grade recordings. Did I say, Coltrane? Yes, on his previous recordings the passionate Lewis intentionally woodsheds his way by honing his inventive and throated tonality anchored to his imaginatively yet theoretically addictive compositions I imagine he has purist wondering where did this guy come from.
The Red Lily Quintet features whos who of talented musicians bassist William Parker, drummer Chad Taylor, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, cellist Chris Hoffman even with this skillful ensemble I don’t usually travel down the advent-garde’s obscure path. Nonetheless, I’m attracted to Lewis’s ingenious ambiguity, heart, and spirited will to compose and play music. With JESUP, Lewis inspired by poetry is a prolific writer who scored 7 originally compulsive compositions all seem to have a similar objective to keep you the listener on the edge of your seat eager to hear more. The beauty of this recording is Lewis’s compositions shatter the myth that there just aren’t any serious musicians who are willing to cultivate innovative and unchartered territory in today’s jazz.
Buffalo, NY native James Brandon Lewis was Voted as Rising Star-Tenor Saxophonist in the 2020 DownBeat Magazine International Critic’s Poll!
Listen to JESUP