Ron Blake's MUSIC T'REE Flourishes Across Genres
Blake's musical vocabulary runs the gamut from hip bop lines to thoroughly modern riffs that are so fast, they whiz by; a result of countless hours of practice. But what strikes me most unique about Blake as an improviser and especially as a saxophonist is his overall lack of self-indulgence. He's into his altissimo as most tenor players today are, but every last note means something. Nothing is gratuitous. Everything is felt deep down in his soul so that he doesn't come off sounding like a technical acrobat as so many players today do. He's into playing as originally as possible, but every note has its place.
'Lately, I've really been into writing simple melodies. Sometimes there's nothing as nice as a beautiful melody.'
So while he's not busy gigging for McBride and Yerba Buena what is Blake up to?
From Fall 2001 through Spring 2003, he taught as a visiting professor at Western Michigan University in East Lansing, a program led by bassist Rodney Whitaker, another Hargrove band alum. 'Rodney's a bad cat,' says Blake. 'It's a promising new program that has a lot of potential.'
As for the future, Blake is intent on applying for an increasingly popular grant from Chamber Music America to compose new music for a group of his choosing (I found out that night from Gilmore, that he had recently won this grant).
'I think I would want to do something incorporating different media. Maybe dance or film.' There goes Blake. Gettin all original on us again. Whether he's doing and organ trio gig, playing reggae, classical, Latin, pop, or music from movies about chocolate, Ron's musical cup is always full.