Creative improvised music flows directly from an artist’s personality. It’s entirely spontaneous and always new. In that respect, Rob Blakeslee has been warming up for 30 years. His search has taken him all over the U.S. Since he’s settled in Oregon, the trumpeter has remained active in free jazz circles. From 1988 to 1996, he chaired the Oregon State University Jazz Program. Blakeslee’s discography lists four previous albums as leader. His quartet proves bold and brassy in this August 2000 session.
Clyde Reed and Dave Storrs hold the rhythm to a swinging stride. Their force keeps Blakeslee ...read more
Double Yellow is a 1999 recording featuring Roper performing alongside some venerable West Coast modern jazz musicians. Here, percussion wunderkind Brad Dutz utilizes an arsenal consisting of gongs, cymbals, tablas, chimes and more as trumpeter Rob Blakeslee and trombonist Michael Vlatkovich mince accenting tonalities, with poignant interludes, modern jazz interplay and world beat grooves. Moreover, the band also partakes in sonorous extended note drones, subtly climactic passages, oscillating crosscurrents and indigenous rhythms. Basically, the musicians’ pursue some sort of transcendental aura in conjunction with their largely unclassifiable methodologies and cascading soundscapes. Double Yellow brims with contrasting notions intermingled into a ...read more
There is a conversation going on in jazz these days, and I’m not referring to the debate as to whether Ken Burns is the anti-Christ. I also am not referring to apparent contention raised by the PBS wonderboy that jazz, although dead (since 1962), makes a nice museum piece. The conversation I am refering to is the one carried on between musicians who are burdened by the entire weight of 100 years of recorded jazz history. It’s no wonder that they either play jazz as repertory music (Mingus Big Band), as background sound (smooth jazz), or as the militant avant-garde, ...read more
Sometimes a jazz band will perform sans piano simply because the bar or hall doesn’t own one, or for a New Orleans funeral procession the reason is obvious. The choice not to record with an available piano is a conscious one. Take Ornette Coleman’s 1960 quartet, Sonny Rollins at The Village Vanguard 1957, or John Zorn’s Masada of the 1990s all elected to free themselves from the constraints of those black & white keys. I’m telling you this because Rob Blakeslee’s quartet opts for openness and the freedom. Peace. Blakeslee and Rich Halley are regular contributors to the West Coast ...read more
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