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Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, 'People's Park'

courtesy of the artist

Brian Blade's Fellowship Band introduced a magnetic new musical synthesis on its self-titled 1998 debut: jazz-inflected, gospel-rooted music suffused with a glowing consonance. All of these qualities coalesce again on a new song titled "People's Park" — the first single from a forthcoming album titled King's Highway, due out on Blade's own Stoner Hill Records on July 7.

Blade, a peerless drummer with a gift for subtle shading and flowing undertow, has always had a crucial partner in Jon Cowherd, the band's brilliant pianist, who presumably titled "People's Park" after a storied plot of land in Berkeley, Calif. There's a spirit of hope and humanity in the song's drifting waltz time, which Blade and Cowherd carry aloft with help from bassist Christopher Thomas.

King's Highway features one more composition by Cowherd, alongside four by Blade, including the epic title track. The band's personnel features two saxophonists — Myron Walden on alto, Melvin Butler on tenor — as well as the guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. It's an all-star lineup that functions more like a harmonious congregation, ebbing and flowing as one.
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