10 Songs, 1 Hour 6 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The intersection of avant-garde jazz and gospel has been a crossroad for such legendary figures as John Coltrane and particularly Albert Ayler, but it’s not something you hear a lot of in the present day. Studying under Wadada Leo Smith and Charlie Haden but coming out of the church tradition and working under gospel singers Albertina Walker and Dorinda Clark Cole, James Brandon Lewis comes by this fusion naturally, with a warm dry tone. Here on his second album, he and a heavy rhythm section of bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver work through a set of improvisation-based originals credited to all three members. Those looking for the gospel roots can turn to the searching “Wading Child in the Motherless Water,” while the opener, “Divine” (which returns to close the album) is a modal blues ballad. The saxophonist’s attack on “A Gathering of Souls” is robust without being brash, while the melodic and quick-footed “No Wooden Nickels” is no less assertive. Poet Thomas Sayers Ellis appears on the folk-like “Organized Minorities” and “The Preacher’s Baptist Beat” as well.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The intersection of avant-garde jazz and gospel has been a crossroad for such legendary figures as John Coltrane and particularly Albert Ayler, but it’s not something you hear a lot of in the present day. Studying under Wadada Leo Smith and Charlie Haden but coming out of the church tradition and working under gospel singers Albertina Walker and Dorinda Clark Cole, James Brandon Lewis comes by this fusion naturally, with a warm dry tone. Here on his second album, he and a heavy rhythm section of bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver work through a set of improvisation-based originals credited to all three members. Those looking for the gospel roots can turn to the searching “Wading Child in the Motherless Water,” while the opener, “Divine” (which returns to close the album) is a modal blues ballad. The saxophonist’s attack on “A Gathering of Souls” is robust without being brash, while the melodic and quick-footed “No Wooden Nickels” is no less assertive. Poet Thomas Sayers Ellis appears on the folk-like “Organized Minorities” and “The Preacher’s Baptist Beat” as well.

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