Brian Blade: Omni
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band
Season of Changes (Verve 10696)
Composed by Brian Blade.
Recorded: Rhinebeck, New York, October 10-13, (no year given, but probably 2007)
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
Brian Blade is one of the most vital and exciting drummers on the current jazz scene, and his presence has enlivened a host of recordings in recent years. Here he steps to the fore as a leader and composer. Throughout this CD, Blade dispels the stereotyped view that drummer-led bands quickly collapse into percussion excess. Indeed, at virtually every decisive moment on the Season of Changes release, Blade sublimates his ego for the greater good of the band. A track such as "Omni," with its slow and stately 6/8 rhythm, is anything but a drum feature. But make no mistake about it, Blade's superb drum work creates tremendous tension and excitement at every twist and turn in this performance. This is almost a textbook example of how to create ebb and flow in a musical work -- in particular check how the energy level builds during the tenor solo, only to crest and subside for Cowherd's pastoral piano interlude. No mindless beats here, no empty grooves -- this music lives and breathes.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia