BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Primarily known as an all-star drummer whose work has graced albums by Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Bob James, Wayne Shorter, Joshua Redman, Norah Jones, Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, and a host of others too numerous to mention, Brian Blade can also add composer and band leader to his ample credits. His work straddles the line between jazz, classicism and all realms in-between, but when working under his own aegis it’s surprisingly alluring without any trace of the pomp and pretence that one might otherwise expect. Body and Shadow is enticing for that reason alone, a series of sensuous soundscapes that parlay a mellow ambiance that plays nicely as background music or for deeper listening. Songs such as “Within Everything,” “Body and Shadow (Noon)” and “Traveling Mercies” are surprisingly lean and easy on the ear, belying the obvious mastery that contributes to their make-up. This is jazz of the more sublime variety, unobtrusive in tone and treatment, with quiet shadings and subtle technique fully vetted. Blade himself sets the mood, his tasteful trappings allowing plenty of space within the spare melodies while creating a mellow vibe throughout. A pleasant sojourn into ethereal realms, this is wordless and wonderful mood music of a celestial sort.
DOWNLOAD: “Within Everything”, “Body and Shadow (Noon)”