Even for an artist hailed by Ebony Magazine as one of “7 Young Players to Watch” who has studied with jazz heavyweights like Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, Dave Douglas, Joshua Redman, and Matthew Shipp, it takes considerable confidence and courage for a young musician to match wits with veteran improvisers like William Parker and Gerald Cleaver. But on his second release, Divine Travels, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis does just that, not only holding his own with that masterful rhythm section but leading them down fresh and unexpected pathways.
orn In Buffalo, NY James Brandon Lewis began his pursuit of music at the age of 9 and would begin his music studies at the Buffalo Academy for the Visual And Performing Arts exposing him to Jazz Legends such as Dave Brubeck, Doc Severinsen , Local Legends Carol Mclaughlin , and Charlie Parker Alum the great pianist Al Tinney . James Brandon lewis holds a Bachelors Degree from Howard University and a MFA from California Institute of the Arts .
To date James Brandon Lewis has released 4 albums as a leader, 3 achieving critically acclaim. He has toured extensively world wide with his own ensembles, as well as shared the stage, and recorded with amazing musicians such as William Parker, Hamid Drake, Cooper Moore, Jamaaladeen Tacuma , Rudy Royston , Gerald Cleaver , Charles Gayle, Dave Douglas , Richard Davis , Weather report Alum Alphonso Johnson , Ravi COltrane, James Carter, Jimmy Heath, Joe Lovano and many others . Lewis is also the Co-Founder of Heroes Are Gang Leaders a collective of musicians and poets that keep a foot in the past,present, and future.
James is deep in an intrepid artistic continuum that explores identity and spirituality through challenging and awe-inspiring concepts and epiphanic playing that melds formalistic technique, bold exploration, and strains of gospel and blues. James Brandon Lewis presents a rich dialogue with his audience that is both fiery and cerebral.