Some days, it’s hard to keep up with Brian Blade. The Louisiana-raised drummer has played with just about everybody in jazz, and has lengthy collaborations with musicians ranging from alto saxophonist and producer David Binney and multi-platinum rock producer Daniel Lanois to Wolfgang Muthspiel and tenor giant Joshua Redman. These days, Blade can frequently found powering the astral-aspiring mad genius of the Wayne Shorter Quartet.
Blade also leads his own group, the Fellowship, the core of which has played together consistently for the last twenty years. The Fellowship’s music reflects Blade’s often undisclosed studious, spiritual nature. This jazz is not hot, bopped and swung in night clubs; it is deliberately debated, evolving as if through legislation, reflecting a unanimous, almost uniform, group compositional and improvisational consensus on the direction of the music. Drop the needle of any of the Fellowship’s records and you’ll find yourself in the same deep, reflective tonal conversations, even 20 years on.