Android Trio & James Brandon Lewis 930pm $10
Andrew Niven - Drums, Compositions
Max Kutner - 6-String Guitar
Eric Klerks - 8-String Guitar
Road Songs, the debut recording from the Android Trio, is a collection of instrumental reflections of the hazy experience of an American band touring abroad. The set of eight original compositions was written and arranged by drummer, composer and percussionist, Andrew Niven, and covers a wide landscape of stylistic terrain including doom metal, third stream jazz and progressive rock.
The group formed during extensive touring as members of the renowned Magic Band (formerly Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band) and the Grandmothers of Invention (formerly Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention). After playing together on a lark at a café in Sydney, Australia in 2014, Niven, eight-string guitarist and bassist, Eric Klerks, and guitarist, Max Kutner, decided to carry on exploring the possibilities of combining their varied stylistic directions. Road Songs, the first official document of these explorations, attests to the richness of each trio member’s unique performance background and acts as both a tribute to the fabled world of traveling music and a harbinger of the new sonic color that arises from ignoring genre hierarchies.
Each track on Road Songs is a separate aural journey. At the core of “Diminished Returns” is a syncopated, grooving march that supports a soaring guitar fanfare and extended, Zappa-esque solo. “Bay View,” inspired by Niven’s home in Northern California, has a decidedly more soulful veneer with Klerks delivering a busy, hand-tapped ostinato throughout that is remarkable for being both lulling and technically active. The most menacing moment arrives in the manic middle section of “Untitled” which evokes the nervous breakdown of a disenfranchised robot. The elegiac “Blues for Charlie”, dedicated to the late Charlie Haden, features an extended, alap-like introduction on bass and “Kopanitsa” closes the set with a playful take on the traditional Balkan dance form as filtered through the polyrhythmic lens of modern jazz.
Road Songs is a multifarious album with enumerable points of entry that will satisfy listeners and devotees of many diverse styles. The music contained within is at times improvised and locked, soloistic and group-oriented, simplistic and complex but proportioned with exquisite care from start to finish. A limited-edition CD features original artwork by Eron Rauch that reflects to impressionistic quality of the work. Its freewheeling attitude makes it a welcome new entry in the Orenda Records catalog.
“James Brandon Lewis, A Jazz Saxophonist In His 30s, Raw-Toned But Measured, Doesn’t Sound Steeped In Current Jazz-Academy Values And Isn’t Really Coming From A Free-Improvising Perspective. There’s An Independence About Him, And On “Days Of FreeMan” (Okeh), He Makes It Sound Natural To Play Roaming, Experimental Funk, With Only The Electric Bassist Jamaladeen Tacuma And The Drummer Rudy Royston, And Without Much Sonic Enhancement. The Record Sounds A Little Reminiscent Of What James Blood Ulmer And Ornette Coleman Were Doing In The Late ’70s And Early ’80s — On Records That Included Mr. Tacuma — But It’s Not Clearly Evoking A Particular Past. Maybe It’s An Improvised Take On Early ’90s Hip-Hop, As Mr. Lewis Has Suggested, But It Sounds Less Clinical Than That. It Sounds Like Three Melodic Improvisers Going For It.”
— The New York Times
Acclaimed Saxophonist & Composer James Brandon Lewis has been described as a Visionary Composer and Tenor saxophonist has received accolades from the New York Times, NPR and Ebony Magazine, who hailed him as one of the “ 7 Young players to Watch in today’s scene”. 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). Lewis at the request of Rollins participated in a tribute concert honoring the Jazz Legend sharing the stage with Jimmy Heath, Ravi Coltrane, James Carter and many others.
Born In Buffalo, NY James Brandon Lewis began his pursuit of music at the age of 9 and would begin his music studies at the Buffalo Academy for the Visual And Performing Arts exposing him to Jazz Legends such as Dave Brubeck, Doc Severinsen , Local Legends Carol Mclaughlin , and Charlie Parker Alum the great pianist Al Tinney . James Brandon lewis holds a Bachelors Degree from Howard University and a MFA from California Institute of the Arts .
To date James Brandon Lewis has released 4 albums as a leader, 3 achieving critically acclaim. He has toured extensively world wide with his own ensembles, as well as shared the stage, and recorded with amazing musicians such as William Parker, Hamid Drake, Cooper Moore, Jamaaladeen Tacuma , Rudy Royston , Gerald Cleaver , Charles Gayle, Dave Douglas , Richard Davis , Weather report Alum Alphonso Johnson , Ravi COltrane, James Carter, Jimmy Heath, Joe Lovano and many others . Lewis is also the Co-Founder of Heroes Are Gang Leaders a collective of musicians and poets that keep a foot in the past,present, and future.
James is deep in an intrepid artistic continuum that explores identity and spirituality through challenging and awe-inspiring concepts and epiphanic playing that melds formalistic technique, bold exploration, and strains of gospel and blues. James Brandon Lewis presents a rich dialogue with his audience that is both fiery and cerebral.