Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

July/August 2012: Will Bonness

Brian Blade

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When I think of a group I would love to hear live, my obvious choice is Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band.

Born in 1970, Brian Blade has been one of the most influential and innovative drummers of the last twenty years. He has played with countless musicians throughout his career, including Wayne Shorter, Joshua Redman, Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Kenny Garrett.

In 1998 Blade and his Loyola University classmate, pianist Jon Cowherd, began recording their original music with the group Fellowship. The group features Blade and Cowherd, along with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, saxophonists Myron Walden and Melvin Butler, and bassist Christopher Thomas. Over the past fourteen years, the Fellowship Band has released three albums.

Aside from being a collection of extremely talented musicians, the Fellowship Band has really developed and honed their individual sound. Their strong personal relationships on and off the bandstand transcend the music and facilitate the creation of some of the most sincere and powerful music I’ve ever heard. As a young musician I find the chemistry of the band extremely inspiring: they possess the musical and creative freedom that we all wish to attain through our music.

To hear Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band at their finest, check out their 2008 release on Verve, Season of Changes. It is accessible music with memorable melodies and compelling improvisation—all the qualities that make the group so appealing to a wide range of listeners. You can find lots more information at Blade’s website,

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