Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, (Blue Note)
A mildly disappointing sextet of fine musicians led by one of the indisputably great jazz drummers around these days, New Orleans' Brian Blade.
The disc proves to be a far more effective showcase for lyrical composition than anyone might have expected from a drummer so often employed by others to swing the house down. His front line is occupied by good tenor player Melvin Butler and alto saxophonist Wyron Walden, along with guitarist Myron Walden. The guitarist is Dave Devine. This group isn't faking it when they say that "fellowship" is the point here and not solo statements or individual dynamism. Which makes the result pleasant music to be sure but not especially compelling for such a strong player under other circumstances.
2 1/2 stars (out of four)