Feb 3, 2014
Even for an artist hailed by Ebony Magazine as one of "7 Young Players to Watch" who has studied with jazz heavyweights like Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, Dave Douglas, Joshua Redman, and Matthew Shipp, it takes considerable confidence and courage for a young musician to match wits with veteran improvisers like William Parker and Gerald Cleaver. But on his second release, Divine Travels, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis does just that, not only holding his own with that masterful rhythm section but leading them down fresh and unexpected pathways.
The album also contains two collaborations with poet Thomas Sayers Ellis, who Lewis has been working with since the two met at a residency in 2011. The Brooklyn-based poet recites works from two of his books, Skin, Inc., and The Maverick Room, which won the John C. Zacharis First Book Award in 2005.
James' modesty and quiet sense of faith shown through when we spoke
last month, as we discussed the making of Divine
Travels, his plans for taking the new material on the
road, and where his muse may take him next. Podcast 408 is our conversation,
featuring musical selections from the new CD including,
"Tradition", "Divine", "Wading Child in the Motherless Waters" and
"The Preacher's Baptist Beat.".