2020 – a silly year for an artist residency. New York painter, graphic artist and bassist Josh Werner was »lucky« enough to be hired for such a residency at The Cell Theatre last year. But other than incidences and packed ICUs, there was little to experience in Manhattan. Nevertheless, he drummed up a hard-hitting and puffing group for the quickly launched »cell TV,« which will henceforth be called *Resilient Vessels. In addition to Josh Werner, who has already played for CocoRosie and Matisyahu, among others, and who appears here as a composer, it is above all the saxophonist and producer of »Live At The Cell«, James Brandon Lewis, who steps into the spotlight. One might even go so far as to call Lewis the real shining star of the record. Over the length of the eight tracks, he shows himself to be a force on the wooden mouthpiece. Sure, there is a lot of John Coltrane involved, but just the NY legend Albert Ayler might be even more of a role model. The fact that Lewis shines so brightly here is primarily due to the mixing of the session, which neglects the drums and bass a bit, but accentuates the saxophone and clarinet very much. This gives the whole thing a certain shrillness factor, which may not please everyone, but is absolutely thrilling in its peaks. That outside the door nevertheless only the wasteland of the pandemic lurks, becomes clear nevertheless at the latest then, when violently with the fence post is waved: Now and then you hear sparse applause. The right music at the wrong time.
Hedvig Mollestad Weejuns