Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band will return to Blue Note Records for the release of Landmarks, the fourth album from the collective, which is led by acclaimed drummer and composer Brian Blade (pictured above). The album is being released in cooperation with the Shreveport, Louisiana-based label Mid-City Records.
Landmarks was co-produced by Brian and his longtime pianist and collaborator, Jon Cowherd. The pair refracts their stylistic influences into their own musical poetry, with an ear to the individualistic styles of Myron Walden (alto saxophone, bass clarinet), Melvin Butler (soprano and tenor saxophone) and Chris Thomas (bass). For the recording of Landmarks, Marvin Sewell and Jeff Parker are featured on guitars. Excepting the guitarists, The Fellowship Band has remained a unit since their eponymous 1998 debut and its 2000 follow-up, Perceptual, both on Blue Note.
Seven of the 10 compositions from Landmarks were recorded at the recently launched Blade Studios, which was founded by Brian’s older brother, drummer and producer Brady Blade, Jr., in Shreveport, where the Blade brothers were born and raised.
“The word ‘landmark’ seemed to have an arrow attached to it,” says Brian. “The idea is that we’re here right now, and we’re passing signs along the way that mark where we are. I like the journey aspect of Landmarks, the trip that the songs seem to comprise. There’s a lot of through-composition, some short, poetic things, then some long, epic landscapes that we travel. I try to write what I have discovered and realized with as much clarity as possible, while thinking of the band. When they play it, all this rhythm, melody and harmony becomes alive, and other ideas reveal themselves.”
Landmarks is set to be released on April 29.
Photo credit: Lurah Blade