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Divine Travels

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iTunes Review

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.

Customer Reviews

Hell yeah!

Fresh! Unique! Tasteful! original! And full of soul! Then you for your music!

An Inspirational Journey!

An inspirational journey to the highest high!!!

Heartfelt and Inspiring

I thought this album was just wonderful! It not only displays James’ command of the saxophone and musical composition but also his command of his own personal musical story and language and it just comes through so powerfully on this album. I’m impressed and a FAN!!!


Born: 1983 in Buffalo, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '10s

Saxophonist and composer James Brandon Lewis has earned a reputation as a rock-solid sideman and soloist among musicians in gospel, R&B, and jazz. Lewis was born in Buffalo, New York in 1983. Raised in the church -- whose influence upon his spiritual outlook is central -- he was exposed to the aforementioned genres early, and studied music with Carol McLaughlin. He attended the Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts. Upon graduation, he continued his studies with Charlie Young at Howard...
Full Bio

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