James Brandon Lewis

James Brandon Lewis website

James Brandon Lewis, a jazz saxophonist in his 30s, raw-toned but measured, doesn't sound steeped in current jazz-academy values and isn't really coming from a free-improvising perspective. There's an independence about him, and on "Days of FreeMan" (Okeh), he makes it sound natural to play roaming, experimental funk, with only the electric bassist Jamaladeen Tacuma and the drummer Rudy Royston, and without much sonic enhancement. The record sounds a little reminiscent of what James Blood Ulmer and Ornette Coleman were doing in the late '70s and early '80s - on records that included Mr. Tacuma - but it's not clearly evoking a particular past. Maybe it's an improvised take on early '90s hip-hop, as Mr. Lewis has suggested, but it sounds less clinical than that. It sounds like three melodic improvisers going for it.
The New York Times

AKAMU representation: European exclusivity
For info and costs please contact Alberto Lofoco

• projects as a leader/co-leader •

James Brandon Lewis & Chad Taylor "Radiant Imprints"
James Brandon Lewis - tenor sax
Chad Taylor - drums and mbira

James Brandon Lewis Trio
James Brandon Lewis - tenor sax and composition
Luke Stewart - electric bass
Warren Trae Crudup III - drums

The Dead Lecturers
"Baby Lonely Iambs" or "Worry-Nation Cycle Liberation" (with a tribute to Jean-Michel Basquiat)
Thomas Sayers Ellis - spoken word
James Brandon Lewis - tenor sax
Melanie Dyer - viola or Alexis Marcelo - piano

Founded in 2012 by James Brandon Lewis and Thomas Sayers Ellis, three years before their larger ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders, The Dead Lecturers is an improvisational exchange between units of sound and units of language with the goal of stimulating, within the listener, new ideas of action and non-passive living. Ellis and Lewis have a unique chemistry of agreeing and disagreeing with one another while delivering a potent, creative messages that extend the "Black Literary Oral Tradition".

James Brandon Lewis Quartet: "Molecular"
James Brandon Lewis - tenor sax and composition
Aruán Ortiz - piano and percussion
Brad Jones - double bass
Chad Taylor - drums

James Brandon Lewis "Red Lily Quintet"
Kirk Knuffke - cornet
James Brandon Lewis - tenor sax and composition
Christopher Hoffman - cello
Silvia Bolognesi - double bass
Chad Taylor - drums

Heroes Are Gang Leaders
Thomas Sayers Ellis - spoken word
James Brandon Lewis - tenor sax and composition
Randall Horton - spoken word
Bonita Penn - spoken word
Nettie Chickering - vocalist
Melanie Dyer - vocalist and viola
Heru Shabaka-Ra - trumpet
Devin Brahja Waldman - alto sax & synthesizer
Brandon Moses - electric guitar
Jenna Camille - vocals, piano and keyboards
Luke Stewart - electric bass
Warren Trae Crudup III - drums

The passing of Imamu Amiri Baraka in 2014 was a major loss for various facets of Black Radicalism. In politics, culture, and community, Baraka was a strong figure who was a shining example for so many to follow in his footsteps.
Formed from the love and respect of Baraka, a group of poets and musicians, led and founded by James Brandon Lewis & Thomas Sayers Ellis, have come together with a name lifted from one of Baraka's stories. The group embarked on a recording session last fall that blended poetry and music to "outishly" echoe and honor his legacy.
In the tradition of a signifying protest groove comes Heroes Are Gang Leaders. Their style has many mothers, many fathers, and nonecombining jazz, groove, black hollerin and extensions of paged and oral literary text by Gwendolyn Brooks, Bob Kaufman and Amiri Baraka.
Album "Secret Heroes R U A" (feat. Thurston Moore)

• video •

Video of James Brandon Lewis on YouTube

James Brandon Lewis' Red Lily Quintet: "Jesup Wagon" live at Roulette - Brooklyn (31-1-2018)

James Brandon Lewis & Chad Taylor "Imprints" live at PointCulture - Charleroi (31-1-2018)
James Brandon Lewis & Chad Taylor at 6BC Gardens - Arts for Art, NYC (2-10-2016)

Heroes Are Gang Leaders at JazzFest Berlin (31-10-2017)
Heroes Are Gang Leaders at Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Heroes Are Gang Leaders "The Day We Gave the Globes Back, A Sing Along!" @ Issue's 22 Boerum Theater

Thomas Sayers Ellis - James Brandon Lewis - Nothing Personal - Part 4 (12-12-2013)

James Brandon Lewis Trio - at Sonic City (11-11-2017)
James Brandon Lewis Trio live at Villa Nachini-Cabassi - Corno di Rosazzo (27-10-2017)
James Brandon Lewis Trio - at Not A Police State / Arts For Art (5-1-2016)

James Brandon Lewis' Lotus - at NYC Free Jazz Summit / Arts for Art (5-4-2016)

• discography •

2021 - Jesup Wagon - Red Lily Quiintet with Kirk Knuffke, Christopger Hoffman, William Parker, Chad Taylor
2020 - Molecular - with Aruán Ortiz, Brad Jones, Chad Taylor
2020 - Live in Willisau - with Chad Taylor
2019 - An UnRuly manifesto - with Jaimie Branch, Anthony Pirog, Luke Stewart, Warren "Trae" Crudup
2018 - Radiant Imprints - with Chad Taylor
2016 - No Filter - with Luke Stewart, Warren "Trae" Crudup, P.SO the Earth Tone King, Anthony Pirog and Nicholas Ryan Gant
2015 - Days of Freeman - with Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Rudy Royston, Pearl Lewis, Supernatural HPrizm
2014 - Divine Travels - with William Parker, Gerald Cleaver and Thomas Sayers Ellis
2010 - Moments - with Neil Kogan, Robert Holliday, Ben Shepherd, John Shebalin

• interviews •

James Brandon Lewis Pushes Genre Boundaries with "Days of Freeman" by Andrew Rodriguez - Jazz Vibes (13-8-2015)

• texts •

All Elders be Eloquence, or One Way to Pay Dem You Owe - On Recording the track "Sad Dictator"
Amiri's Green Chim Chim-knees Growth Tribe
James Brandon Lewis Takes Two
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