Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band 

When: Fri., March 15, 8 p.m. 2013
Price: $28, $26 members
Drummer and composer Brian Blade takes his time with the Fellowship Band, both with respect to its release schedule—the group’s fourth album in 15 years, Landmarks, is due from Blue Note late this summer—and in its music. The Fellowship plays postbop at slow-motion speeds, and Blade’s melodies incorporate the wide-open spaces of folk and country. Saxophonists Myron Walden and Melvin Butler occasionally break from the plangent calm of their rich, braided lines with meticulously constructed solos of scalding intensity, and Blade’s fastidious and seductively explosive drumming builds tension by subtraction. Pianist Jon Cowerd, along with Blade and bassist Chris Thomas, keeps a tight rein on the elegant tunes, which build with such restraint that they can deliver a wallop before you even notice they’ve wound up for it. I’ve heard a few tracks from Landmarks, and the Fellowship sounds more locked in and nuanced than ever. The band played a spellbinding set at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2011 that made all the distracting sidewalk vendors and audience yappers seem to disappear. —Peter Margasak



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