All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

95

Johnathan Blake: The Eleventh Hour

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
The health of an organism is its ability to reproduce and a fine example of jazz's continued vitality is heard on drummer Johnathan Blake's The Eleventh Hour. The debut's excellence comes as no surprise, though. This son of violinist John Blake Jr is already carving his name as a young rhythmic dynamo whose growing credits include work with the Mingus Big Band, trumpeter Tom Harrell and guitarist Russell Malone.

With a frenzied schedule of gigs on other artists' projects, Blake has found time to lead his own band, documented here with an extremely hot quintet of longtime associates, including the supreme sax duo of Mark Turner and Jaleel Shaw, bassist Ben Street and newcomer to the group, pianist Kevin Hayes. Add flavorful guests such harmonicist Gregoire Maret and pianist Robert Glasper on Fender Rhodes to the all-star roster and the delayed release (originally completed in 2010) has plenty of potential. But to put a twist on an iconic saying "The names don't mean a thing if the music ain't got that swing," this is definitely not the case for this extraordinary debut.

Blake's two opening pieces are formidable. The title track opens with a lo-fi drum intro, and then unfolds with a nimble groove featuring harmonica and keyboard accents, plus beautiful serpentine solos from Turner and Maret. Blake works masterfully with stylish rim shots and flurried scissoring, always adding a creative stamp to the process. "Rio's Dream" has a nice melodic hook with spiraling harmonies, Hayes' searching piano work, and Shaw's fiery proclamation. The pieces not only have stylistic impetus but also leave memorable songlike imprints.

The question of whether or not the music swings is answered in Harrell's bopping "Blue News," where the trumpeter also contributes his glowing horn and the soloists freely explore, as Blake's kit and Street's walking bass line hold the rhythm tight. Blake also affirms this characteristic via his own writing skills on "Of Things To Come," with another exhausting cadence and detailed changes attributed to his early training on piano and violin.

Unusual avenues are traveled in "No Left Turn," with its thought-provoking pacing and alluring yet abstract qualities, as is "Clues," a deconstructed take on Thelonious Monk's "Evidence" where Blake trades blistering beats within an already difficult tempo. The music ends with Glasper's "Canvas," the essence of soulfulness and modernism as Glasper and Maret exchange intricate ideas. Blake's The Eleventh Hour might have been delayed but the music is right on time.

Track Listing: The Eleventh Hour; Rio's Dream; Blue News; Dexter's Tune; Time To Kill; Of Things To Come; Freefall; No Left Turn; Clues; Canvas.

Personnel: Johnathan Blake: drums; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone (1-4, 6-10); Jaleel Shaw: alto saxophone (1, 2, 5-7, 9); Ben Street: bass; Kevin Hayes: piano, Fender Rhodes (2-4, 7-9); Gregoire Maret: harmonica (1, 10); Robert Glasper: piano; Fender Rhodes (1, 5, 10); Timothy Warfield: tenor saxophone (8); Tom Harrell (3, 5).

Title: The Eleventh Hour | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Humanities CD/LP/Track Review
Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Wild Is The Wind CD/LP/Track Review
Wild Is The Wind
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review
Fairytales
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read "Zea" CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Icaros" CD/LP/Track Review Icaros
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: February 28, 2018
Read "Point and Line" CD/LP/Track Review Point and Line
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 7, 2017
Read "Duality: Particles & Waves" CD/LP/Track Review Duality: Particles & Waves
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Songs of Experience: Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Songs of Experience: Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: February 10, 2018
Read "3Divas" CD/LP/Track Review 3Divas
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 2, 2017