After the brilliant finale at the 2019 Willisau Jazz Festival with saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and drummer Chad Taylor, Lucerne journalist Pirmin Bossart wrote: "The music sought neither to preach nor impress, instead revealing itself as pure, spirited intensity. 'Yeah! Yeah!' James Brandon cries after the final note of 'Willisee' adding a jubilant 'Wow!'".
The duo had just finished a track which Dewey Redman and Ed Blackwell played on the same stage in 1980, a stage where Max Roach & Archie Shepp also wrote jazz history. Lewis and Taylor pay tribute to this legacy and conjure up the spirit of Great Black Music in the very first piece with an homage to John Coltrane.
New Yorker James Brandon Lewis has attracted attention in recent years with his album UnRuly Manifesto. The record was listed among the best new releases of 2019 in the USA. The "New York Times" attests him a great musical autonomy: "James Brandon Lewis, a jazz saxophonist in his 30s, raw-toned but measured, doesn't sound steeped in current jazzacademy values and isn't really coming from a free-improvising perspective. There's an independence about him." The drummer Chad Taylor comes from Chicago and has played with Fred Anderson, Pharoah Sanders, Marc Ribot, Malachi Favors and Nicole Mitchel. On Intakt Records he plays on the live album with Aruan Ortiz and Brad Jones.
Bossart writes: "The two musicians let us hear the great breath of an essential jazz tradition, its clarity, raw beauty and urgency shining through, even in the melting pot of contemporary jazz debates. The musicians are not stuck in a version of the past. At every second they are part of the musical process, which shapes itself and pulses with their experiences of the here and now. This is about a continuum, occurring yesterday, today and tomorrow. Why else would jazz have retained till today its transformative power?"
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