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Michael Blake

Like John Coltrane, he plays tenor and soprano saxophones, but like Roland Kirk he likes sometimes to use the two horns simultaneously. He’s lyrical, but intense, and he improvises passionately, although doing it with an elaborate technique. Unable to always keep in the same direction, Michael Blake varies his activities – beside his own projects, we heard him with the Herbie Nichols Project or playing with DJ Logic and Tricky. “Every six months I do something – a different project. I just want to change all the time”, he said in an interview. He’s a member of bassist Ben Allison’s (a longtime collaborator and the second individual of his trio) Jazz Composers Collective, a non-profit musician’s association, but his fame he owes it to his ten years partnership with John Lurie in “one of the coolest bands in the world”, as he puts it: Lounge Lizards. Eulipion Orchestra, Slow Poke (now, unfortunately, without slide-guitarrist extraordinaire David Tronzo), Blake Tartare and song-oriented Mr. Carefree are other bands that show his very different interests in music. As Allison told about him, “he’s less concerned with ‘what’ he plays than ‘how’ he plays.” Known for having a tenor style in the same vein as the ones of Ben Webster and Lester Young, with a big, round and thick sound, Blake is a good example of the new blood that envigorates jazz in New York these days. Be it with the world-jazz fusion record “Elevated” or the almost concept album “Kingdom of Champa”, the result of a trip to Vietnam, a country that still lives badly in the American colective subconscient.

Michael Blake 's records on clean feed
Right before your very ears
Michael Blake Trio
 
     
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