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Brian Blade Comes to Columbus Theater in Providence

Legendary Jazz Drummer Brian Blade came to Columbus Theatre for Landmark Recording and Performance. Low Anthem’s Eyeland Studios opened its doors for special recording session to be released on Blue Note Records, followed by a Talkback session featured a local jazz icon Eric Jackson. This performance was produced by the Columbus Cooperative and promoted through a partnership with FirstWorks, was open to the public; this was the band’s first time in Providence.

Here are some photos from the sound check and performance.

The entire Talk-back session with Eric Jackson and Brian Blade.


Providence welcomes Brian Blade!!


Providence, RI – The historic Columbus Theatre will opens its doors for a landmark recording session and performance by Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band. Widely considered one of the best jazz drummers in the world, Blade will bring his band to the theatre’s Eyeland Studios for a recording to be released on legendary jazz label Blue Note Records. The sessions will culminate in a live performance in the theatre’s main room on Friday, August 21. This performance, produced by the Columbus Cooperative and promoted through a partnership with FirstWorks, is open to the public; this is the band’s first time in Providence.

Brian Blade is one of the most revered figures in modern jazz and one of its defining drummers; LA Weekly has called him “a fiery drummer whose textural, hyper-dynamic approach redefined jazz drumming for a new generation.” The Louisiana native was raised in the traditions of New Orleans music under the tutelage of jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis and Dixieland drum masters Johnny Vidacovich and Herlin Riley. He was born in Shreveport and later moved to New Orleans, where played with many of the greats of the New Orleans jazz scene, including Steve Masakowski, George French, and Harold Battiste. He rose to prominence as a sideman, most notably with saxophonists Wayne Shorter and Joshua Redman, and formed The Fellowship Band in 1997 along with pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Chris Thomas, saxophonists Myron Walden and Melvin Butler, and others. The band has continued to write, record, and tour, releasing four studio albums, including last year’s Landmarks, also on Blue Note.

This recording session and performance will mark the launch of Eyeland Studios within the Columbus Theatre, a professional recording studio owned and operated by nationally renowned Providence band The Low Anthem, in partnership with Brian Webb. The studio will open for professional recording sessions beginning in September. Blade’s will be the first of two internationally touring bands to record there; the second will be Xylouris White, featuring another world-class drummer, Jim White of Australian instrumental rock band Dirty Three. Webb believes that one of the most compelling and unique elements of the studio is the theatre itself. “It feels like a place where creating beautiful things, music and otherwise, is constantly pursued, and I think people sense that when they walk in. It’s easy for them to imagine themselves there making,” he says. “It also doesn’t hurt that the theatre’s large hall is striking and creates some very cool and unique possibilities for recording sound.”

Ben Knox Miller, of the Low Anthem and the Columbus Cooperative, is also enthusiastic about the unique experience the studio offers for musicians, presenting both opportunities and challenges. “Brian and Jim are really good drummers, but the theatre wasn’t built for drums. It was built for opera singers. Playing in there is like tickling the mouth of a cannon, acoustically – you could get your head blown off if you don’t listen to the room telling you what it needs. There is some mystery around this phenomenon, but it knows what it likes to sing.”

The day after the recording session, on Saturday, August 22, there will be a Q&A talkback session with Brian Blade moderated by local jazz icon Eric Jackson. Known as “the dean of Boston jazz,” Jackson has been broadcasting for 46 years, and hosting his signature show on 89.7 WGBH, Eric in the Evening, for over 30 years. Throughout his career Jackson has conducted over 3,000 interviews with artists from all eras, including legendary figures like Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ornette Coleman. He recently launched a new blog, Follow the Soul Trane, covering “all things jazz and beyond” along with photographer Erin X. Smithers. This will be a rare opportunity to participate in a conversation with two major figures in modern jazz.

Doors for Blade’s August 21 performance will open at 7:00 p.m., and the recording will commence at 8:00 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $20 at; tickets will be $25 at the door. Admission for the talk-back session will be free for anyone with a ticket stub from the previous night, $5 for all others.

About the Columbus Theatre

The Columbus Theatre was designed and built in 1926. The Theatre originally featured vaudeville and silent films before being leased by RKO Albee Theater, who renamed the building the Uptown Theater and operated it as one of Providence’s premier cinemas for the next 25 years. Builder Misak Berberian purchased it in the summer of 1962, revived the theatre’s original name, and installed his son Jon at the helm. After extensive repairs, the Berberians reopened the Theatre on November 1, 1962 – the 36th anniversary of the building’s original opening. The Theatre was forced to close again in 2009 because of fire code updates. Since that time, Jon Berberian has worked tirelessly to meet those requirements for the Theatre, which reopened its doors November 17, 2012 and has once again become a beautiful and valued asset to the community.

About the Columbus Cooperative

Formed in summer 2012, the Columbus Cooperative comprises members of the music, design, nonprofit, and hospitality industries. Working on a volunteer basis alongside the Theatre’s ownership, the Cooperative works to reinvigorate both the Theatre and the West End community by programming a range of unique live events in an unequaled space. The Cooperative is Ben Knox Miller, Bryan Minto, Jeff Prystowsky, and Tom Weyman. For more information, email


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