Saxophonist and flutist T.K Blue's tenth album A Warm Embrace is an enchanting and elegant work with richly textured harmonies and captivating melodies. Even though not all of the tracks are strictly speaking ballads there is a sublime sense of poetry that runs throughout the record and is its prevailing and cohesive motif.The solemn Requiem for a Loved I" dedicated to several deceased musicians is intensely, yet quietly, lyrical and somber. It opens with a pensive and melancholic dialogue between Blue's yearning, clean saxophone and guitarist Russell Malone's earthy tones. Blue's haunting improvisation builds an aura of nostalgia ...read more
What do you do after you've already toured the world with jazz legends, helmed a successful college jazz program and recorded everything from bluesy fare to world-meets-jazz music to Latin-ized takes on Charlie Parker? If you're saxophonist T.K. Blue, you turn to the soft(er) and the subtle, delivering an album that's texturally rich yet wholly transparent. Blue, best known as a longtime sideman and musical director for pianist Randy Weston, has done all of the above and more. A three year stint with pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, extended time in Paris, sojourns in Africa, sideman and leader work ...read more
Saxophonist Charlie “Bird" Parker is primarily remembered as an incendiary, revolutionary, improvisatory soloist, but he often expressed his style through composition, and many of Parker's original tunes became part of the modern jazz canon. Latin Bird, saxophonist T.K. Blue's label debut for Motema, his ninth release as a leader, reworks eight of Parker's tunes in Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Caribbean and related rhythmic styles.Blue serves as musical director for pianist Randy Weston, with whom he's played for more than three decades, and also serves as Director of Jazz Studies at Long Island (NY) University's C.W. Post Campus. But the first ...read more
New York City native TK (Talib Kibwe) Blue has seven previously released CDs to his leadership credit. His eighth, Latin Bird, bears promise as his most integrated and well-conceived. Blue interprets nine pieces composed by or closely associated with Charlie Parker's Latin muse. Chi Chi" and Si Si" were givens, the former enjoying both Blue's alto saxophone and flute playing over Parker's circuitous lines. Steve Turré demonstrates, on Chi Chi," what a raving master of the creamiest trombone tone he is. Si Si" is a Latin blues, an amalgam in which Parker liked to compose. Blue and pianist Theo Hill ...read more
It would seem that the music of Bird has been born anew in 2011. Joe Lovano took to the skies with his expansive take on the music of Charlie Parker with Bird Songs (Blue Note, 2011), and now alto saxophonist T.K. Blue spreads his wings with Latin Bird. Both men take Parker's music in different directions, yet they seem to share a guiding philosophy that reverence for a subject matter needn't result in stale retreads of their work. Artists who bow at the altar of Parker, yet refuse to build on the constructs and language he created, often make themselves ...read more
For a fellow who's been dead since 1955, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker is having a really good year. Several high-profile projects have been released featuring his music, with various adjustments, tints, and abstractions, and some of these have been quite good. Now comes multi-woodwind player T.K. Blue, with Latin Bird, which adds some Latin flavor to a group of well known Parker classics. The challenge to covering an icon like Parker--particularly if the musician in question is playing the same alto horn--is that it invites direct comparison of two musicians staring at each other over an interim sixty ...read more
Saxophonist and flutist T.K. Blue, the artist formerly known as Talib Kibwe, continues to evolve his own brand of post-bop on Eyes of the Elders, his second release as a leader for Arkadia Jazz. Despite the pretentious title, this album contains some worthy performances by a cadre of jazz veterans and young lions. Though T.K. Blue fits the ubiquitous description of the contemporary jazzer infatuated with jazz tradition, he actually spent years paying his dues with jazz veterans including Abdullah Ibrahim, Randy Weston, Billy Mitchell, Jimmy Heath and Ernie Wilkins.
As evident on this album, Blue soaked up some of ...read more