Brian Blade

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Not to be confused with Brian Blades.
Brian Blade
Brian Blade 2008.jpg
Brian Blade performing August 9, 2008
Background information
Born (1970-07-25) July 25, 1970 (age 44)
Shreveport, Louisiana United States
Genres Jazz, alternative rock, blues rock, jazz fusion
Occupation(s) Musician, bandleader, composer
Instruments Drums, percussion, guitar, violin, recorder
Labels Nonesuch, Columbia, Verve, Blue Note, Warner Bros.

Brian Blade (born July 25, 1970 in Shreveport, Louisiana) is an American jazz drummer, composer, session musician, and singer-songwriter.[1]


Early years[edit]

Blade was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. The first music he experienced was gospel and songs of praise at the Zion Baptist Church where his father, Brady L. Blade, Sr., has been the pastor for fifty-two years. In elementary school, music appreciation classes were an important part of his development and at age nine, he began playing the violin. Inspired by his older brother, Brady Blade, Jr., who had been the drummer at Zion Baptist Church, Brian shifted his focus to the drums throughout middle and high school.[2]

During high school, while studying with Dorsey Summerfield, Jr., Blade began listening to the music of John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Elvin Jones, and Joni Mitchell. By the age of eighteen, Brian moved to New Orleans to attend Loyola University. From 1988 through 1993, he studied and played with most of the master musicians living in New Orleans, including John Vidacovich, Ellis Marsalis, Steve Masakowski, Bill Huntington, Mike Pellera, John Mahoney, George French, Germaine Bazzle, David Lee, Jr., Alvin Red Tyler, Tony Dagradi and Harold Battiste.[2]

The Fellowship Band and sideman work[edit]

In 1997, Blade formed The Fellowship Band with pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Chris Thomas, saxophonists Myron Walden and Melvin Butler, guitarist Jeff Parker, pedal steel guitarist Dave Easley and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. The Fellowship Band released its debut album, Brian Blade Fellowship, in 1998, Perceptual, in 2000, Season of Changes in 2008 and "Landmarks" in 2014.

While continuing to work with the Fellowship Band, Blade has been a member of Wayne Shorter's quartet since 2000. He has recorded with Daniel Lanois, Joni Mitchell, Ellis Marsalis, Marianne Faithfull, Emmylou Harris, Billy Childs, Herbie Hancock, Dorothy Scott and Bob Dylan.

Singer-songwriter work[edit]

In 2009, Blade released Mama Rosa, his first album as a singer-songwriter, with songs dedicated to his grandmother and family. The album featured Daniel Lanois, vocalists Kelly Jones and Daryl Johnson, bassist Chris Thomas, guitarists Kurt Rosenwinkel and Goffrey Moore, pedal steel guitarists Greg Leisz and Patrick Smith, and pianists Aaron Embry and Jon Cowherd. It was co-produced by Brian Blade and Adam Samuels.[3] The live band includes Steven Nistor on drums.[4]


  • 2013: ECHO Jazz Award "International Artist of the Year Drums/Percussion", for Quiver[5]


Blade uses vintage Gretsch, Ludwig, Sonor and Slingerland drums. He plays Canopus drums when touring in Japan. His acoustic guitar is a mid-1950s Gibson LG-3.


Blade at INNtöne Jazzfestival 2006

As leader[edit]

As co-leader[edit]

Trio with Wolfgang Muthspiel and Marc Johnson
  • Real Book Stories (Quinton, 2001)
  • Air, Love and Vitamins (Quinton, 2004)
Duo with Wolfgang Muthspiel
  • Friendly Travelers (Material, 2007)
  • Friendly Travelers Live (Material, 2008)
Trio with Ron Miles and Bill Frisell
  • Quiver (Enja, 2012)

As sideman[edit]

With Joshua Redman

With Wayne Shorter

With Joni Mitchell

With others


  1. ^ Thomas, Stephen. "Allmusic biography". Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  2. ^ a b "Official site – biography". July 25, 1970. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  3. ^ Jurek, Thom (April 21, 2009). "Allmusic review – Mama Rosa". Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  4. ^ "February 2012 Issue of Modern Drummer". Retrieved 2014-11-12. 
  5. ^ "German ECHO JAZZ 2013 Winners Announced". Londonj Jazz News. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 

External links[edit]