The Messthetics with James Brandon Lewis
“[He] proves that, with applied passion and purpose of expression, free jazz is still capable of sending a few bracing chills down your spine.” – The New Yorker
James Brandon Lewis is a New York-based jazz tenor saxophonist, composer, and bandleader. His instrumental voice marries the emotional power of gospel and the grit and groove of blues and R&B to the modal and vanguard influences of Albert Ayler and John Coltrane, and Sonny Rollins’ expressive melodic and tonal discipline. Moments, his 2010 debut, was followed by Divine Travels (2014) and the widely celebrated Days of Freeman (2015). Seven more records came shortly after, earning him a nod as “Rising Star Tenor Saxophonist” in the Downbeat International Critics Poll. In early 2023, Lewis released Eye of I, which resulted in a collaboration with The Messthetics, featuring drummer Brendan Canty and bassist Joe Lally of Fugazi fame. Along with guitarist Anthony Pirog, The Messthetics released a self-titled record in 2018 and followed up with Anthropocosmic Nest (2019). They widen the reach of a decisive instrumental music through their overlapping of punk and funk, aggression, and experimentation.