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Dan Blake's orchestral approach to the jazz quartet is reminiscent of both early New Orleans combos and the quartets of Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan and Ornette Coleman. His composing suggests the influences of Mingus and Herbie Nichols, whose "Spinning Song is the album's only cover.
A multi-reed player, Blake's most distinctive instrument is soprano sax, which he plays with the big vibrato and robust tone of early practitioners like Sidney Bechet, though in a thoroughly modern way. He's joined on the six parts of the title suite by saxophonist/bass clarinetist Alec Spiegelman, bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Jorge Perez-Albela. Three other tracks feature a quartet with vibraphonist Alexei Tsiganov, Roeder and drummer Richie Barshay.
A strong bass line, eventually joined by rollicking drums, opens the suite with "The Morning Shuffle, soprano and tenor sax joining in to race through a complicated melodic line and a tandem rubato section for just horns before sax solos with the rhythm section. "The Party is a jaunty march, soprano and tenor interweaving with the rhythm, which includes a clever retard.
"The Sneaky Dance brings a flute and bass clarinet dialogue in over sprung rhythms; "Dance on My Toes is slow and delicate, with tenor sax and bass clarinet joined by bowed bass in a low register. "The Chide Grind mixes soprano and tenor saxophones interacting with a shifting, accelerating rhythm building to a drum solo ending. The suite ends with "Booze, a two-tenor tandem solo over an easy, walking swing rhythm.
"The Party Suite is viscerally entertaining, full of neat arranging touches and fun rhythmic surprises. The other three tracks are more conventional and tune-like, showcases for Blake's soprano sax (two pieces) and tenor sax (one), with vibes offering a pleasing contrast to the usual piano or guitar in the rhythm section.
Track Listing: The Morning Shuffle; The Party; The Sneaky Dance; Dance on My Toes; The Chide Grind; Booze; The Spinning Song; Johnny; Waiting to Change.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com