Brian Blade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brian Blade
Blade at the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival
Blade at the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival
Background information
Born (1970-07-25) July 25, 1970 (age 52)
Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
GenresJazz, alternative rock, blues rock, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, bandleader, composer
Instrument(s)Drums, percussion, guitar, violin, recorder
LabelsNonesuch, Columbia, Verve, Blue Note, Warner Bros.

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

Early life[edit]

Brian Blade in Aarhus, Denmark 2017

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, Blade 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 Johnny 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, and pedal steel guitarist Dave Easley. The band released its debut album, Brian Blade Fellowship, in 1998, Perceptual (with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel) in 2000, Season of Changes in 2008, Landmarks in 2014, and Body and Shadow in 2017.

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, since 2000 Blade has also been a member of Wayne Shorter's quartet. Blade grew up listening to Shorter's albums, and started playing with Shorter at 30 years old, along with Danilo Perez and John Patitucci.[4] He has also recorded with Daniel Lanois, Joni Mitchell, Ellis Marsalis, Marianne Faithfull, Emmylou Harris, Billy Childs, Herbie Hancock, 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 Geoffrey 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.[5] The live band includes Steven Nistor on drums.[6]

On April 30, 2016, Blade played at the White House in Washington, D.C., as part of The International Jazz Day Global Concert.[7]



Blade uses vintage Gretsch, Ludwig, Sonor and Slingerland drums. He plays Canopus drums when touring in Japan. He has used a variety of cymbals over the years, including multiple ride cymbals made from Roberto Spizzichino, vintage A Zildjians, and often a 22" Zildjian K Constantinople Light Ride (discontinued model). His acoustic guitar is a mid-1950s Gibson LG-3.


Blade at INNtöne Jazzfestival [de] 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 Chick Corea and Christian McBride

Trio with John Patitucci and André Marques

  • Viva Hermeto (Borandá, 2014)

Trio with John Patitucci and Danilo Pérez

Trio with Benjamin Koppel and Scott Colley

  • Collective (ArtistShare, 2014)

Trio with Edward Simon and Scott Colley

  • Steel House (ArtistShare, 2015)

Trio with Jeff Denson and Romain Pilon

  • Between Two Worlds (Ridgeway, 2019)
  • Finding Light (Ridgeway, 2022)

Quartet with Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau and Christian McBride

  • RoundAgain (Nonesuch, 2020) – recorded in 2019
  • LongGone (Nonesuch, 2022) – recorded in 2007, 2019

Trio with Wolfgang Muthspiel and Scott Colley

  • Angular Blues (ECM, 2020)

As group[edit]

Yaya3 with Joshua Redman and Sam Yahel

  • Yaya3 (Loma, 2002)

SFJAZZ Collective

  • SFJazz Collective (Nonesuch, 2005) – recorded in 2004

Black Dub with Trixie Whitley, Daniel Lanois and Daryl Johnson

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas, Stephen. "Allmusic biography". Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Official site – biography". July 25, 1970. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  3. ^ Kelman, John (April 9, 2014). "Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band: Landmarks". Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 10, 2022. Retrieved January 10, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Jurek, Thom (April 21, 2009). "Allmusic review – Mama Rosa". Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  6. ^ "February 2012 Issue of Modern Drummer". January 3, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  7. ^ "International Jazz Day". Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  8. ^ "German ECHO JAZZ 2013 Winners Announced". Londonj Jazz News. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
  9. ^ "André Marques". Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  10. ^ Matt Collar (September 9, 2014). "Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro - Billy Childs | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved July 21, 2017.

External links[edit]