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  • JAMES BRANDON LEWIS' RED LILY QUINTET August 2024
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James Brandon Lewis' Red Lily Quintet

!!! now out on TAO Forms Records: „For Mahalia, with Love“ !!!

„For Mahalia, With Love is a record that gets down to fundamentals, but not just in the way that its title cues you to expect. Obviously, any interpretation of the music of gospel singer Mahalia Jackson is going to express the investigator’s relationship to Christianity, as well as Jackson’s role as a cultural force. Gospel music is bedrock stuff for tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, who grew up playing in church and whose grandmother received Jackson’s message firsthand and took it to heart. Plus, deep dives are what Lewis does; this is a musician who independently studied molecular biology and used what he learned to structure the compositions for his quartet. So, Lewis not only delivers the classic tunes that any fan of Jackson would want to hear, he works aspects of her phrasing and ornamentation into his own playing.

But Lewis also treats these themes differently than he did the original compositions he devised for the Red Lily Quintet’s 2021 debut, Jesup Wagon. On that record, secondary instrumentation brought vividness to an especially sharp set of new melodies. But the music of Mahalia Jackson wasn’t just for Sundays. Generations have used its messages as a guide to daily life decisions. Lewis handles them with the intimate familiarity of a person raised in that tradition. But he also approaches them as a jazz musician who understands that abstraction and reinterpretation are the essence of his art. So, these gospel melodies aren’t performed with set-aside reverence, but as raw material for rigorous improvisation and creative rearrangement, balancing their potential for spiritual intensity with their handiness as springboards for spontaneous creation in ways that might remind old jazz heads of Charles Mingus.“ (Bill Meyer, 22.9.2023, Magnetmagazine.com)

Line Up

Kirk Knuffke, cornet
James Brandon Lewis, tenor sax
Tomeka Reid, cello
Silvia Bolognesi, bass
Chad Taylor, drums

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Tourdates

01.08.2024  LISBON/Portugal - Open-Air AmphitheatreTickets

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