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Rob Blakeslee Quartet: Last Minute Gifts

Jim Santella By

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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 and trombonist Michael Vlatkovich on target. The two front-liners share many improvisational qualities. Both prefer bold punctuation for dramatic tension alongside subtle humor. Their instruments allow them to communicate every kind of thought to the audience. Technically, Vlatkovich and Blakeslee employ their superb talent in ways that most folks understand. Like the music of Charles Mingus, Blakeslee’s program is designed to reach an audience that appreciates his blend of swinging spirit and trained musicianship. Free spirits allow the emotions their due emphasis. Blakeslee’s creative session remains accessible to all, while using his quartet’s stellar sounds to enrich an avant-garde vocabulary.


Track Listing: Moss People; Megan's Tugboat; Gilmore's Boys; It's Later Than You Think; Huff Creek Road; Advice From a Pufferfish.

Personnel: Rob Blakeslee- trumpets, flugelhorn, percussion; Michael Vlatkovich- trombone; Clyde Reed- bass; Dave Storrs- drums, percussion.

Title: Last Minute Gifts | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Louie Records


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