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Blade at the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival
July 25, 1970 |
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|
From the 2014 album Landmarks
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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.
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.
The Fellowship Band and sideman work
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.
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.
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. The live band includes Steven Nistor on drums.
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.
- Brian Blade Fellowship (Blue Note, 1998)
- Perceptual (Blue Note, 2000)
- Season of Changes (Verve, 2008)
- Mama Rosa (Verve Forecast, 2009)
- Landmarks (2014)
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)
- Quiver (Enja, 2012)
- Children of the Light (Mack Avenue, 2015)
With Joshua Redman
- Back East
- Mood Swing
- Freedom in the Groove
- Spirit of the Moment – Live at the Village Vanguard
- Timeless Tales (for changing times)
- Elastic (with Joshua Redman Elastic Band)
- Walking Shadows
With Wayne Shorter
- Footprints Live! (Verve, 2002)
- Alegria (Verve, 2003)
- Beyond the Sound Barrier (Verve, 2005)
- Without a Net (Blue Note, 2013)
With Joni Mitchell
- 1994 Darrell Grant: Black Art (Criss Cross)
- 1995 Brad Mehldau: Introducing Brad Mehldau (1995, Warner)
- 1995 Steve Masakowski: Direct Axecess (1995, Blue Note)
- 1995 Kenny Garrett: Triology (1995, Warner Bros.)
- 1995 Darrell Grant: The New Bop (Criss Cross)
- 1995 Jane Siberry: Maria (Reprise)
- 1996 Kenny Garrett: Pursuance: Music of John Coltrane (Warner Bros.)
- 1997 Steve Earle: "El Corazón" (Warner Bros.)
- 1997 Bob Dylan: Time Out of Mind (Columbia)
- 1998 David Berkman: Handmade (Palmetto)
- 1998 Ryan Kisor: Battle Cry (Criss Cross)
- 1998 Joni Mitchell: Painting with Words and Music (DVD, Eagle Rock)
- 1998 Mark Turner: In This World (Warner Bros.)
- 2006 John Patitucci: Line by Line (JVC Victor/Concord)
- 2001 Chris Potter: Gratitude (Verve)
- 2001 David Binney: South (ACT)
- 2002 Joel Weiskopf: Change in My Life (Criss Cross)
- 2002 Charlie Haden: American Dreams (Verve)
- 2002 Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, and Roy Hargrove: Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall (Verve)
- 2002 Norah Jones: Come Away with Me (Blue Note)
- 2003 Daniel Lanois: Shine (ANTI-)
- 2004 Helen Sung: Push (Fresh Sound New Talent)
- 2004 David Binney: Welcome to Life (Mythology)
- 2006 Kenny Garrett: Beyond the Wall (Nonesuch)
- 2006 Edward Simon: Unicity (CAM Jazz)
- 2007 Darrell Grant: Truth and Reconciliation (Origin)
- 2007 Sam Yahel: Truth and Beauty (Origin)
- 2009 Edward Simon: Poesia (Cam Jazz)
- 2009 David Binney: Third Occasion (Mythology)
- 2010 Daniel Lanois: Black Dub (Red Ink)
- 2010 Scott Colley: Empire (Cam Jazz)
- 2011 David Binney: Graylen Epicenter (Mythology)
- 2012 Rolf and Joachim Kühn Quartet: Lifeline (Boutique)
- 2012 Davy Mooney: Perrier Street (Sunnyside)
- 2013 Edward Simon: Trio Live in New York (Sunnyside)
- 2013 Iron & Wine: Ghost on Ghost (4AD)
- 2013 Chick Corea: Trilogy (Concord)
- 2013 Aga Zaryan: Remembering Nina & Abbey (Parlophone)
- 2014 Billy Childs: "Map to the treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro" (Sony Records) 
- 2016 Wolfgang Muthspiel: Rising Grace (ECM)
- 2016 Norah Jones: Day Breaks (Blue Note)
- Thomas, Stephen. "Allmusic biography". Allmusic.com. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
- "Official site – biography". Brianblade.com. July 25, 1970. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
- Kelman, John. "Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band: Landmarks". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- Jurek, Thom (April 21, 2009). "Allmusic review – Mama Rosa". Allmusic.com. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
- "February 2012 Issue of Modern Drummer". www.moderndrummer.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- "International Jazz Day". jazzday.com. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
- "German ECHO JAZZ 2013 Winners Announced". Londonj Jazz News. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
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