|Blade, Lanois, Whitley, Johnson: Official Black Dub photo|
Would I travel across town during a Minnesota winter weather advisory to crowd into the Cedar and stand in the back of the room, craning my neck for glimpses of the band? I would if the band included Brian Blade, and did.
I learned earlier this week that Blade would be in town as part of Black Dub, Daniel Lanois’ latest project. Until now I have only heard Blade play jazz, “only” in this case being a word as big as the sun, given the people he plays with (Wayne Shorter, his own Fellowship Band) and has played with (Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett, Bill Frisell, Chris Potter, Chick Corea and Christian McBride). Before last night, my latest Blade sighting was at the Monterey Jazz Festival with Billy Childs.
Lanois describes Black Dub as “kind of a rock thing, steeped in the Jamaican culture of dub.” I know little about dub but noticed a lot of rock, some country and blues in the part of the show we arrived in time for. By then the Cedar was SRO (the band had specified fewer than usual chairs; they wanted a standing crowd) and steamy hot. On stage were Lanois on guitar, Trixie Whitley (daughter of the late blues artist Chris Whitley) on vocals, Jim Wilson on bass, and Blade on drums.