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Moments by James Brandon Lewis

Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis presents a set of diverse jazz sounds on his debut recording Moments, recorded in Valencia, California where Lewis is a graduate student at the California Institute of the Arts. Featuring a first-rate young band, Lewis is able to showcase his huge, breathy tone on the tenor sax with lively compositions, ranging from hard-driving swing to full-out funk.

Lewis and company demonstrate open-ended group interplay on "Cinto," a bombastic, free-form meets urban groove piece. Here pianist Robert Holliday and drummer John Shebalin play with an edginess that spurs Lewis to deliver an inspired solo. In sharp contrast to "Cinto", the tune "Moments," featuring the electric keyboard work of Morgan Fitch, is a straight-up funker with commercial sensibilities.

One highlight of the disc comes with the addition of saxophonist Kevin Robinson, trumpeter Brandon Sherman and percussionists Aaron Chavez and Nate Coyne on "I Remember South Africa." The enhanced instrumentation adds a distinct dimension to Lewis' musical conception. Another shining moment of the recording is an improvised live duet between Lewis and harpist Susan Allen, recorded live at Roy O Disney Music Hall.

With a debut as strong as Moments, Lewis certainly has the potential to be a strong, innovative voice in jazz.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: James Brandon Lewis
  • CD Title: Moments
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2010
  • Record Label: Self Published
  • Rating: Four Stars
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