Drummer and composer Brian Blade's Fellowship Band will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, March 22, at Skidmore's Zankel Music Center. Blade has played alongside musical luminaries from Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris to Chick Corea and Daniel Lanois. Considered by many critics to be the most important contemporary jazz band in the modern world, his group, the Fellowship Band, consists of Jon Cowherd (piano), Christopher Thomas (bass), Melvin Butler (tenor sax), Myron Walden (alto sax), and Blade (drums).
Blade formed Brian Blade Fellowship in 1998 with pianist Jon Cowherd. Also joining the group were saxophonists Myron Walden and Melvin Butler, guitarist Jeff Parker, pedal steel guitarist Dave Easley, and bassist Chris Thomas. This group released a self-titled debut album before replacing Parker with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel for 1999's Perceptual. Easley departed before 2008's Season of Changes, which was released under the name Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band.
The Fellowship revolves around the writing of Blade and Cowherd, whose concepts tend toward the pastoral, elegant, and cathartic. Colors float in and out of focus; Blade and Cowherd score sounds like pedal steel guitar, harmonium and bass clarinet. The Fellowship Band will be playing tracks from their newest album, Landmarks, during the current March tour, which is taking the band from New Orleans to Chicago to Saratoga Springs.
Admission the Friday, March 22, Fellowship Band performance is free for students and children, $8 adults, and $5 seniors and Skidmore community. For advance reservations visit www.skidmore.edu/zankel or call the Zankel box office (518) 580-5321 for more information.