Source: BA Podcast 52.
James Brandon Lewis is from Buffalo, New York, a city which has produced a surprising number of musicians whose work I listen to a lot, including Grover Washington, Jr., Charles Gayle, Rick James, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Morton Feldman, and Cannibal Corpse. I’ve seen Lewis perform live twice, both times with the avant-garde rock trio Harriet Tubman. One time was a straight double bill – James’s trio with bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Warren Trae Crudup, plus guitarist Anthony Pirog, opened for Tubman. Then, at Winter Jazzfest in 2018, Tubman put together an expanded group to perform a re-interpretation of Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz. That night, the lineup was Tubman – Brandon Ross on guitar, Melvin Gibbs on bass, JT Lewis on drums – plus James’s trio, plus Jaimie Branch on trumpet and Darius Jones on alto sax. It was really fantastic, one of those things that you only get to see once in your life. You’re either in the room when the magic happens, or you get to hear people tell stories about it for years afterward.