The 10 Best New Songs of 2008 - "Return Of The Prodigal Son" (Verve)
The 10 Best New Jazz Releases of 2008 - Brian Blade And The Fellowship Band - Season of Changes (Verve)
- Ken Franckling
The New York Times - 5/12/2008
On "Season of Changes" post-bop sophistication is gently sifted through layers of gospel, country, folk and soul, with the implicit aim of balancing intellect against emotion. And it works: this is a record of deceptive proficiency, extraordinary beauty and a disarming lack of ego.
Mr. Blade and the pianist Jon Cowherd, who deserves credit as the band's secondary leader, have been tilling this ground for more than a decade. Their taste for heartland warmth endures.
Jazziz Magazine - 6/19/08
Season of Changes, a journey marked by keen musical intelligence and the composers' apparent desire to bring listeners along on an idiosyncratic musical adventure. Resistance is futile.
All Music Guide - 5/8/08
Seasons of Changes is the aural proof of a new, exciting sound that offers new possibilities for jazz is in our midst. Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band are sounding its cry.
The pianist's "Return of the Prodigal Son" feels based more on the great painting by Rembrandt depicting the gospel story than it does on the text. Here, nicely flowing lines between the horns intersect with the piano's ostinati and evoke a sense of travel, finding an open space and just moving toward it.
Pianist Jon Cowherd has raised eyebrows in his work with the Brian Blade Fellowship. Cowherd's playing shows an artful touch to the keys in ways Thelonious Monk used to; emphasis on just the right dynamic at just the right time and a sense of harmonic imagination that is tied to the music of the moment and not some preconceived music-school taught voicing concept. Cowherd's playing on the mid-tempo ballad Five Nights, with his use of occasionally non-traditionally voiced single line juxtapositions to trumpeter's Michael Rodriguez's incredible solo, is worth the price of the disc alone.
- Thomas R. Erdmann
Lament For A Straight Line - Top Five Micro Moments at the Newport Festival - 8/11/2009
2. The harmonium solo that Jon Cowherd offered the throng who came to see Brian Blade's Fellowship Band. It was both fleeting and entrancing, and its arrival and departure illustrated the kind of fluidity the ensemble is striving for. Saxophonist Myron Walden was soloing in a very gospelish manner, and his boss was egging him on from the Amen Corner, which just happened to be located behind his drums. As the music sighed, Cowherd's keybs bubbled up. It harked to the buoyant Ravi Shankar piece Rudresh Mahanthappa and his Indo-Pak Coalition floated through on that stage to start the day.
- Jim Macnie
Alder Music Blog
Until now I failed to grasp the genius of the final three minutes of "Return of the Prodigal Son," by Fellowship pianist Jon Cowherd. Something happened when the group reached this section at the gig. A perfect melody, a paradisiacal set of chords in flowing waltz time, an accumulation of sound and texture as the theme grew out of Cowherd's piano intro - it was everything music should be, and the beauty of it was almost hard to stand. A band of the year nomination for BBF, please. And a long overdue nod to Jon Cowherd as a top composer.
- David Adler
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