The first time that bassist Jeff Denson and guitarist Romain Pilon got together to record with drummer Brian Blade felt like a lightning strike. Like so many musicians before them, the longtime friends from their days as standout students at Berklee experienced what’s often been described as the Blade Factor, a sudden, clarifying jolt that illuminates the musical moment. Captured in the studio on the 2019 Ridgeway Records album Between Two Worlds, the trio’s debut introduced an uncommon communion that seemed destined for further adventures.
Even two years of pandemic angst hasn’t been able to dim their brilliant chemistry. If anything, the trio’s second album, Finding Light, blazes all the more brightly as an antidote to isolation, anxiety, and despair. Slated for release on Denson’s Ridgeway Records label on September 23, 2022, the project beams with the palpable pleasure the musicians take in each other’s company as they explore new music together in glorious trialogue.
Denson spent the first 18 months of the pandemic keeping the California Jazz Conservatory running online as dean of instruction. Though two years had elapsed between the trio’s last tour and regrouping to record Finding Light, they picked up where they left off, exploring a “sound that evolved because we did a lot of playing and travelling together in 2019 and 2020,” Denson said. “Each time we played together the band kept growing and our sound and direction evolved. Our connection kept intensifying.”
That intensity is evident throughout Finding Light. The trio’s new music reflects both the unbridled joy of gathering together again and the small pleasures (particularly the fur-bearing variety) that eased the surreal passage of pandemic time.Tickets