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James Brandon Lewis

Visionary composer and tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis’s bravest, yet most palpable artistic feat, Days Of FreeMan, opens with a poignant and profound introductory monologue from a maternal sage. She says, “The best thing of living is living who you are. You can’t be somebody else; you gotta be what God gave you to be and who you are. You look in the mirror and see yourself and say ‘I’m James Brandon Lewis.”’Next, bass and drums congeal around the sapphire melodic motif of “Brother 1976,” recalling one of those jazzy jewel-like hooks from a 1990s Native Tongue hip-hop jam. The effect is like 1990s hip-hop’s fascination with jazz being spit back by a prodigious jazz innovator. Welcome to Days Of FreeMan.

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“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

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