Reviews that mention James Brandon Lewis

August 8, 2021

James Brandon Lewis/Red Lily Quintet

Jesup Wagon
TAO Forms TAO 05

Expanding his creative reach as he augments his musical associates, New York tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis’ Jesup Wagon is a mediation and amplification of the work of US post-bellum botanist George Washington Carver (1864-1943). Although best known as the agricultural scientist who developed hundreds of uses for the peanut, Carver was also an artist and musician. Except for Lewis’ recitation of a couple of his own concise poems, the seven-track homage is all instrumental. Other members of the Red Lily Quintet are cornetist Kirk Knuffke, who plays with Jeff Lederer; cellist Chris Hoffman who has worked with Henry Threadgill and drummer Chad Taylor and bassist William Parker, who have been associated with multiple innovative improvisers. MORE

June 23, 2021

Orientation of We

Off OCD 046


Legal Tender

Clean Feed CF 559 CD



NoBusiness NBLP 140

Preferred by sound explorers ranging from Gerry Mulligan to Ornette Coleman, the limitations of a combo consisting of only brass, reeds, bass and drums are easily overcome due to players’ skills. Each quartet here demonstrates that. But unlike many earlier configurations only one band is a working group.

That’s Norway’s Cortex with trumpeter Thomas Johansson, saxophonist Kristoffer Berre Alberts, bassist Ola Høyer and drummer Gard Nilssen, which has been a unit since 2007 even as members also worked in other groups like the PNL Large Unit, Zanussi 5 and Honest John. Meanwhile the fine work exhibited on Emergence results from the mutual chemistry generated when the four New York-based musicians jammed freely. The group is trumpeter Michael Irwin, who has also worked with Federico Ughi; drummer Joe Hertenstein also part of the Core trio, plus bassist Max Johnson and tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, who lead their own ensembles. NOX on the other hand is the prototypical all-star festival matchup. It links American trumpeter Nate Wooley and British bassist Barry Guy who play with many members of the international Free Music community and two Lithuanian stylists: multi-reedist Liudas Mockūnas who is also internationally prominent, as well as leading local bands, some of which have featured percussionist Arkadijus Gotesmanas. MORE

March 23, 2021

James Brandon Lewis Quartet

Intakt CD 350

By Ken Waxman

With musical impulses directed towards both exploratory improvisation and the modern mainstream, tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis seems destined to be one of jazz’s defining musicians during the next decade. On Molecular, the Buffalo-born saxophonist’s 11 originals work within the standard quartet configuration of piano (Aruán Ortiz), bass (Brad Jones) and the percussion of his long-time associate (Chad Taylor) following the double helix concept expressed in varied rhythms and harmonies. MORE

January 21, 2021

Alan Braufman

The Fire Still Burns
Valley of Search VOS 004

A reunion of sorts, The Fire Still Burns picks up more than 40 years later the collaboration saxophonist/flutist Alan Braufman and pianist Cooper-Moore began in the early 1970s. After recording 1975’s Valley of Search LP the two survivors of the East Village’s Loft Jazz scene went their own ways. Braufman eventually settling in Salt Lake City after decades of Jazz and non-Jazz gigs and Cooper-Moore staying in New York to play with many fellow sound explorers including William Parker. Reunited for Braufman’s first record in 25 years, the two are joined by three young veterans – bassist Ken Filiano, drummer Andrew Drury and tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis – for two Braufman-composed suites which refine visceral New Thing outbursts with contemporary technical assurance. MORE

January 11, 2021

El Intruso 13th Annual International Critics Poll 2020

Spanish Website
Ken Waxman’s ballot

Ken Waxman

(Periodista canadiense, editor de JazzWord. Durante muchos años ha escrito para los principales periódicos canadienses e internacionales y realiza comentarios sobre música en diferentes programas de radio)

Músico: “Covid 19”

Músico Revelación: “Covid 19”

Grupo: Leimgruber/Demierre/Phillips

Grupo Revelación: Tonus

Álbum: Various Artists – New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires (ESP Disk)

September 16, 2020

James Brandon Lewis-Chad Taylor

Live in Willisau
Intakt Records CD 342 340

By Ken Waxman

Heir to unabashed reed/drums experimentation, Americans tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and percussionist Chad Taylor equally emphasize links to the jazz tradition on this exemplary Swiss festival set. Lewis, whose gripping ability to invest animated improvisations with multiple variations on extended reed techniques from call-and-response vamps to inflating glossolalia, is substantially encouraged by Taylor’s coordinated strategies. The drummer’s substantial rhythm sophistication is further extended with jolts of mbira or thumb-piano plinks when the program warrants it. MORE

February 8, 2020

14th Annual Francis Davis

7th Annual NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll 2019
Ken Waxman’s ballot

•Your name and primary affiliation(s)

Ken Waxman,, The Whole Note, MusicWorks

•Your choices for this year’s 10 best New Releases (albums released between last Thanksgiving and this, give or take) listed in descending order one-through-ten

1. Uri Caine The Passion of Octavius Catto (816 Music)

2. Mark Dresser Seven Ain’t Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You (Clean Feed)

3. Robert Dick/Joëlle Léandre/Miya Masaoka Solar Wind (NotTwo) MW 986-2

April 12, 2019

James Brandon Lewis

An UnRuly Manifesto
Relative Pitch RPR 1078

John Dikeman/George Hadow/Dirk Serries/Martina Verhoeven/Luis Vicente

Ideal Principle

Raw Tonk Records RT 035

With identical instrumentation but differing conceptions, one American and one European ensemble have created programs of contemporary improvisation. Seemingly taking his cues from that period when the freedom expressed by Ornette Coleman’s initial Free Jazz breakthrough was adapted to fit the rhythmic thrust of Hard Bop is tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis. To do so through additional musical textures, he’s expanded his regular trio of bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Warren Trae Crudup III with the energy emanating from the trumpeter Jaimie Branch and guitarist Anthony Pirog. More attuned to the sort of understated pure improv that moderated the initial American model while building on it is the other CD. Here the cast includes British drummer George Hadow, Portuguese trumpeter Luis Vicente, guitarist Dirk Serries and bassist Martina Verhoeven from Belgium and Amsterdam-based American tenor and alto saxophonist John Dikeman. MORE

September 6, 2018

James Brandon Lewis/Chad Taylor

Radiant Imprints
Off CD 038

Agustí Fernández & Johannes Nästesjö

Like Listening with your Fingertips

Konvoj Records KOR 013

William Parker

Lake of Light –Compositions for AquaSonics

Gotta Let It Out GLIO 19 CD


Masters of Improvisation

Valid Records VR-1016

Satoko Fujii

This Is It!

Libra 203-049

Something In The Air: The Established Maturity of The Guelph Jazz Festival

January 7, 2017

James Brandon Lewis Trio

No Filter
BNS Sessions 032

By Ken Waxman

Many talk about it and some have tried it. But it appears as if tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis could be the one who effects jazz-rap fusion. On No Filter his hard-hitting trio of bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Warren G. Crudup III manage to insinuate rhymes from P.SO the Earth Tone King – as well as the guitar of Anthony Pirog – onto a couple of No Filter’s tracks without upsetting the basic complexity and flow of the session. The pulse the rhythm section draws upon takes as much from hip-hip’s reach as jazz’s fluidity. However, like an athlete who trains for one sport and along the way develops proficiency in another, Lewis may be too good an improviser to settle for rap-fusion attributes MORE