Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band are set to drop their fifth album, Body and Shadow, November 10th marking their 20th anniversary as a unit. Formed in 1997, the Fellowship released their Blue Note debut in 1998, but the bond among the musicians goes back even further. Brian Blade, the band’s namesake and drummer, first met pianist Jon Cowherd in 1988 while attending Loyola University in New Orleans, and they met bassist Chris Thomas in the Crescent City a year later. With Myron Walden (alto saxophone and bass clarinet) and Melvin Butler (tenor saxophone), the Fellowship Band’s sturdy unified bond (“we think of the band as a collective instrument,” Cowherd says) has evolved with every album, and Body and Shadow, which also features Denver-based guitarist Dave Devine, is an extension of that evolution.
“It is always great to be in the moment and in process with the band,” says Blade. “We come in with all our grand plans and then there’s this yielding to, ‘Okay, here’s what’s actually being captured.’ Maybe not what I thought but another feeling, another energy, which is unpredictable. There’s joy in the whole mystery of what we are hoping to create. You step into the process to see what you’re made of, individually and together. Since we’ve shared so much time together, that trust and the sort of inherent knowing of what’s needed for each other kicks in pretty quick.”
“I think we have a lot of hope for the world and ourselves and the desire to create something which will move or touch people,” Cowherd adds. “There’s a spiritual background to the band. We come from a foundation of playing music that is inspirational and I think we all want it to be intellectually interesting, too.”
Check out “Broken Leg Days”, the first single from Body and Shadow below. You can pre-order the album on Amazon.