Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

James Brandon Lewis, Eye of I, Anti *****

There is a voice in the wilderness appeal to James Brandon Lewis. Here with the core group of cellist Chris Hoffman and drummer Max Jaffe on an album largely made up of originals of the American's plus a version of Cecil Taylor's 'Womb Water' and …

Published: 3 Feb 2023. Updated: 17 months.

There is a voice in the wilderness appeal to James Brandon Lewis. Here with the core group of cellist Chris Hoffman and drummer Max Jaffe on an album largely made up of originals of the American's plus a version of Cecil Taylor's 'Womb Water' and the very moving 'Fear Not' with The Messthetics. Superlatives are inadequate on this latest spiritual jazz statement of statements all of which are concise and more focused curatorially than some of his work for the Intakt label.

Eye of I crucially includes a very passionate, convincing, treatment of the Donny Hathaway classic 'Someday We'll All Be Free' (Extension of a Man, Atco, 1973). Over the last few years few have come close to what Lewis is achieving - he is the voice of freedom on the saxophone today and above all has something startlingly vital even punk to say when words are simply not enough and the anarchy of humane uncensored expression is all. Out today. James Brandon Lewis, photo: Anti

  • MARLBANK ALBUM OF THE WEEK

Tags:

Day & Taxi, Live in Baden, Clean Feed ***

Refreshing first of all to hear such a loose stripped back sound again. Avant delights are always welcome. Readers will be familiar most here with the drummer in the long running Day & Taxi, Gerry Hemingway, the 67-year-old New Haven born …

Published: 2 Feb 2023. Updated: 17 months.

Next post

Refreshing first of all to hear such a loose stripped back sound again. Avant delights are always welcome. Readers will be familiar most here with the drummer in the long running Day & Taxi, Gerry Hemingway, the 67-year-old New Haven born player known for his work with above all Anthony Braxton and Marilyn Crispell. Swiss saxist Christoph Gallio and double bassist Silvan Jeger, also from the land of the Toblerone, are less familiar. The method is simple enough, provide acres of space given there isn't a piano or guitar to fatten the harmonic bird in the pot Gallio choosing the unusual C-melody saxophone at times among his arsenal of horns that results in a piquant tonal growl and earthy rumble at times. Tunes are Gallio's who is viscerally scalding and compelling on the quirkily entitled 'Marina and the Lucky Pop Song Transformation'. Steve Beresford in the liner notes muses appreciatively how he recalls the C melody sax from his parents' Frankie Trumbauer 78s. The poetry on 'Dieses Gedicht Erinnert Sich' is a surprise (it's less memorable than it says on the tin - hey ho). Avant certainly but an easy listen full of poise, a certain insouciance and even a meaty groove on 'Tall Guy Blues' at the beginning among the sudden flashes of inspiration. A long version of 'Infinite Sadness' would be great - but a band to go hear live of course some day given the fidelity of performance here that transports you somehow into their very individual world.

Day & Taxi: L-r: Gallio, Jeger, Hemingway. Photo: Cleanfeed/Bandcamp