Brian Blade

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Not to be confused with Brian Blades.
Brian Blade
Brian Blade at MJF 2014.jpg
Blade at the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival
Background information
Born (1970-07-25) July 25, 1970 (age 46)
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.
Associated acts Jon Cowherd

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.

Reviewing the band's 2014 Landmarks album, John Kelman wrote:

As the Fellowship Band has grown, it has moved away from overt traditional references, even though they're an undercurrent throughout. Instead, as it explores milestones both inner and outer, Landmarks further speaks with the singular voice that the Fellowship Band has built upon since inception. Blending folkloric references, hints of church and spiritual concerns, jazz modality and countrified touchstones, Landmarks is the perfect name for Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band's fourth album; beyond its meaning to the group, it truly is yet another landmark recording in the core quintet's evolutionary travels. It may have come after a long gap in time, but that only makes it a wait all the more worthwhile.[3]

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.[4] The live band includes Steven Nistor on drums.[5]

On April 30, 2016, Blade played at the White House in Washington, D.C., as part of The International Jazz Day Global Concert.[6]


  • 2013: ECHO Jazz Award "International Artist of the Year Drums/Percussion", for Quiver.[7]


Blade uses vintage Gretsch, Ludwig, Sonor and Slingerland drums. He plays Canopus drums when touring in Japan. A pair of 50's Zildjian very light rides and a modern 22" Light K Constantinople. His acoustic guitar is a mid-1950s Gibson LG-3.


Blade at INNtöne Jazzfestival 2006

As leader[edit]

As co-leader[edit]

Duo with Wolfgang Muthspiel

  • Friendly Travelers (Material, 2007)
  • Friendly Travelers Live (Material, 2008)

Trio with Wolfgang Muthspiel and Marc Johnson

  • Real Book Stories (Quinton, 2001)
  • Air, Love, and Vitamins (Quinton, 2004)

Trio with Ron Miles and Bill Frisell

  • Quiver (Enja, 2012)

Trio with John Patitucci and Danilo Pérez

As sideman[edit]

With Joshua Redman

With Wayne Shorter

With Joni Mitchell

With others


  1. ^ Thomas, Stephen. "Allmusic biography". Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Official site – biography". July 25, 1970. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ Kelman, John. "Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band: Landmarks". Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  4. ^ Jurek, Thom (April 21, 2009). "Allmusic review – Mama Rosa". Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ "February 2012 Issue of Modern Drummer". Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  6. ^ "International Jazz Day". Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  7. ^ "German ECHO JAZZ 2013 Winners Announced". Londonj Jazz News. Retrieved September 6, 2013. 
  8. ^

External links[edit]