ARTISTS    ABOUT    CONTACT   


Agent: Jonathan Mattson
Territory: North America
Record Label: ANTI

︎ ︎





ABOUT

Brooklyn Vegan | The New Yorker | Rolling Stone
New York Times | Downbeat
Full Press Release


"When I listen to you, I listen to Buddha, I listen to Confucius … I listen to the deeper meaning of life … You are keeping the world in balance.”
– Sonny Rollins on James Brandon Lewis

“The tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis proves that, with applied passion and purpose of expression, free jazz is still capable of sending a few bracing chills down your spine.”
– The New Yorker


“A saxophonist who embodies and transcends tradition”
– The New York Times

“There’s no easy shorthand for James Brandon Lewis’ musical M.O. ... the saxophonist has balanced a deep, gospel-informed spirituality with free-jazz abandon and hard-hitting funk-meets–hip-hop underpinnings.”
– Rolling Stone

I would think James would have a personal reference for such a title as Eye of I, the poetic ululation of the trio of words, not unlike the sound of this particular human trio of music messengers. To my mind, Eye of I is in reference to a focus, and a focus which is not entirely disciplinarian but one infused with the spiritual. Having played a tiny bit with James at a loose session some years back, I felt the sound of meditation, prayer, and thoughtfulness in both a search and an acceptance of vibratory creative impulse. We just went into an elemental wave of sonics as a free thought recognition of peace and bliss in concordance with all the wild conflict this universe has in both its real world and dreamscape. The music went outside of any physical construct of time, space and judgment, feeling perfectly imperfect as a cosmologic unification of open-hearted love.

James’ compositions are at once the sole realizations of his own “living music” concepts, the aura of actually “seeing” the music as it is conjured and gifted from the composer’s mind, spirit, and body, as well as being defined to a profound degree by the interaction of players James finds himself compatriot to. The JBL Trio on Eye Of I is James on tenor, cellist Christopher Hoffman and percussionist Max Jaffe—augmented on two tracks by the guest appearance of cornetist Kirk Knuffke, and joined on a third by Anthony Pirog, Brendan Canty. and Joe Lally of The Messthetics—players who have been on the scene, and who are obviously in the mix for JBL as these serious soul serenaders are not afraid to dig in hard to the dynamics being proffered, always allowing a sophistication to present a sentient, sometimes placid (with youngblood rambunction, underlying and playful) groove, a groove dealing with intellect as natural guidance—music reflecting the masters and finding its own communitarian grace.

It’s a channeling I recall picking up whilst in the stream of our collaborative one-time hit. It was in the context of a few other musicians in the room, all compatriot heads into mystic modes coming in from all directions of history defined by experience, truth, determination, and desire while kicking hard against ignorance, discrimination, incrimination and power-hungry, demonic souls lost to greed and ego death. The music was the answer to every query in doubt to piety, the music was its own divine system of belief.

— Thurston Moore, 2022 London






VIDEO