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Lewis, James Brandon / Chad Taylor: Live in Willisau (Intakt)

After their 2018 Off Label release Radiant Imprints, the dynamic pairing of James Brandon Lewis on tenor sax and drummer Chad Taylor, also on Mbira, are heard live at the Jazz Festival Willisau in 2019 for an exciting concert where the two present and reference pieces by Coltrane, Mal Waldron, Duke Ellington, & Dewey Redman, alongside original work from each; superb!

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product information:

UPC: 7640120193423

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: INT342
Squidco Product Code: 29255

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded live at Jazz Festival Willisau, in Willisau, Switzerland, on September 1st, 2019, by Martin Pearson.


James Brandon Lewis-tenor saxophone

Chad Taylor-drums, Mbira

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Artist Biographies:

"James Brandon Lewis (b.1983 Buffalo NY) is a critically acclaimed saxophonist, composer, recording artist and educator . Lewis has received accolades from New York Times, Q Magazine and cultural tastemakers such as Ebony Magazine, who hailed him as one of the "7 Young Players to Watch" in todays scene. Lewis has shared stages with Ken Filiano, Darius Jones, and Jason Hwang, William Parker, Hamiet Bluiett , Hamid Drake , Ravi Coltrane , Jimmy Heath Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Joe Lovano Dave Douglas, Marc Ribot, Anthony Coleman and many others. James Brandon Lewis Lewis has been endorsed by Jazz legend Saxophonist Sonny Rollins " Promising young player with the potential to do great things having listened to the Elders". - Jazz Magazine (France). New York Times had this to say about Lewis " James Brandon Lewis , A Jazz Saxophonist in his 30's, Raw Toned But Measured, Doesn't sound steeped in current jazz academy values There's an Independence about him." James Brandon Lewis Leads numerous ensembles and is the Co- Founder of Poetry Music Ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders Lewis attended Howard University and holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts."

-James Brandon Lewis Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Chad Taylor (b. 1973) is a composer, educator, percussionist and scholar who is a co-founder of the Chicago Underground ensembles. Originally from Tempe, AZ, Chad grew up in Chicago where he started performing professionally at the age of 16. Chad has performed with Fred Anderson, Derek Bailey, Cooper-Moore, Pharoah Sanders, Marc Ribot, Peter Brotzmann, Malachi Favors and many others. Chad leads his own band Circle down which debut recording was given a 5 star review by All music:

"What is remarkable is that there is no wasted motion, no histrionics or grandstanding, as pure emotion is translated to superlative music making on this most highly recommended recording, one for the ages."

Chad has a BFA from the New School in Jazz Performance and a MFA in Jazz Research and History from Rutgers University."

-Chad Taylor Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:

1. Twenty Four 8:35

2. Radiance 7:01

3. Matape 10:32

4. Come Sunday 3:44

5. Imprints 8:42

6. Watakushi No Sekai 7:06

7. With Sorrow Lonnie 6:35

8. Willisee 6:21

9. Under - Over the Rainbow 7:43

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"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?" "-Intakt

"Following up the highly successful Radiant Imprints album, hailed by JazzTrail as one of the best of 2018, the dynamic duo of saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and drummer Chad Taylor is back with Live in Willisau, an eight-track session captured in 2019 at the 45th Willisau Jazz Festival, Switzerland.

The first two pieces, "Twenty Four" and "Radiance", were drawn from their debut album. Integrating Coltrane's "Giant Steps" and "26-2", the former sparkles with the energy of Lewis' propagative rhythmic figures and Taylor's percolating sounds, which includes wildly active snare, rolling thunder toms and cymbal scintillation. At some point, both musicians express their thoughts alone. This piece segues into the next one without interruption. It's a sort of work song introduced by Coltrane's "Seraphic Light" and containing gospel elements in the melody and beneficial changes of beat along the way. It bears some similarity in tone with Mal Waldron's relentless "Watakushi No Sekai", heightened here by a flawless rhythmic sense and undulating fervor.

The contemplative "Come Sunday" by Duke Ellington, stripped down to its bear essentials, along with the duo's "With Sorrow Lonnie", feel more spacious and relaxing as they are rhythmically conducted by the chimelike timbres of the African mbira.

Elasticity and robustness are essential factors in the unfiltered approach adopted by these creative minds. Take, for example, "Imprints", whose sinewy start highlights an empowering tenor that etches sinuous figures and zigzagging lines on the entangling percussive tapestries. It's great to see Lewis chaining elliptical phrases and pinning them down with low-pitched notes for stabilization. Also, Dewey Redman's "Willisee", my favorite track on the album, carries musical farsightedness. We find them excavating confrontational, urgent sounds - Coltrane invocations, blues tones, free bop discharges, and an auspicious mix of funk and hip-hop by the end.

Delivered raw, the music of Lewis and Taylor is an impressive communion of technique, pure energy and sound, with both musicians orchestrating ideas not only with vitality but also with a refined taste. Recently, I've no idea of a better horn that mingles so beautifully with lyrical, mindful rhythms."-Filipe Freitas, Jazz Trails

Get additional information at Jazz Trail
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Duo Recordings
Saxophone & Drummer / Percussionist Duos
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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