James Brandon Lewis

James Brandon Lewis

"Reevaluation is always on the agenda for James Brandon Lewis, a tenor saxophonist with an impassioned and deeply centered sound" writes Nate Chinen about Molecular (Intakt), his latest quartet release.

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

James Brandon Lewis (b. 1983 Buffalo NY) attended Howard University, and received his MFA from California Institute of the Arts. Lewis is a critically acclaimed saxophonist and composer.

Lewis has received accolades from New York Times, NPR, Ascap Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Jazz great Sonny Rollins had this to say "Promising young player with the potential to do great things having listened to the Elders" Jazz Magazine (France) and most recently voted Rising Star Tenor Saxophonist by Downbeat Magazines 2020 Critic’s Poll.

James Brandon Lewis has released several critically acclaimed albums, leads numerous ensembles and is the Co-Founder of award winning poetry and music ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders.

Saxophonist and composer James Brandon Lewis possesses an inspiring energy. His deep curiosity and the thrill he gets from discovery are crucial facets of his personality, and qualities that guide his art. Over the last half-decade he's emerged as one of the most exciting figures in jazz and improvised music, a voracious listener who rejects stylistic hierarchies and one that has feverishly explored new ideas and embraced fresh motivations with every new project.

Inspired by molecular biology James Brandon develops a special system for a surprising and beautiful music with his Quartet with drummer Chad Taylor, pianist Aruán Ortiz, and bassist Brad Jones. He has taken the idea of a "Molecular Systematic Music" to heart in the formulation of the compositions featured on the stunning debut album by this quartet.

James Brandon Lewis says: “I wrote out everything, but the reason I feel like the music is still free is because the lines dictate the harmonic information. With this band the music is going to lift off the page.” Listen to the recordings: The James Brandon Lewis Quartet takes off with an exuberant joy of playing and that rhythmic intensity and thematic beauty that is rooted in the jazz tradition.

James Brandon Lewis, a Saxophonist Who Embodies and Transcends Tradition - The New York Times

James Brandon Lewis Red Lily Quintet 'Jesup Wagon' interview

Bandcamp interview of James Brandon Lewis on 'Jesup Wagon'

New album Code of Being out now!


Photo credit: Henri SELMER Paris