103

Blake Wilner: The Reprieve

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
An Australian based in London since '00, Blake Wilner is currently touring the UK in support of this, his latest and third album. And if you like either post-Wes Montgomery straight-ahead jazz or fx-spiced funk and rock grooves—or both—then you should check him out, for he cuts it convincingly and infectiously in both those worlds.

The straight-ahead tracks, which make up about half of the album, are swinging and understated, and Wilner is particularly enjoyable in the difficult, exposed upper register of the guitar, in a style employing fluent single note runs and a confident use of space and silence.

But it is the other, more sonically experimental tracks which are the most arresting. "Redemption Song" (one of only two covers on the set), "The Reprieve" (nice traces of King Crimson), and "Scip" (dedicated to John Scofield) rock out with restrained ferocity and imaginative use of fx, and Wilner paints atmospheric and original sound pictures. Tom Waits's "Take Me Home" closes the album: it's 3 am and Waits is a little wasted, as you should be, and Wilner evokes the vibe precisely and prettily.

Allen, Hayhurst and Smedegaard give good, solid accompaniment—and Allen is given a generous amount of solo time, some of which he uses memorably ("The Reprieve" especially) and some of which he doesn't (he's in front for over five of the seven minutes of "Redemption Song" and it's hard to remember much about it afterwards).

But it's Wilner who makes the big impression. It would be good to hear him with more fully developed arrangements around him and a bigger budget behind him: The Reprieve was recorded in just one day and is essentially an efficient but basic archive record of what went down in real time during those short few hours. Wilner doesn't need massive injections of post-prod enhancement, but he does deserve a bigger canvas on which to create. Meanwhile, he's a name to watch and listen out for.

Track Listing: New York Trilogy; Women; Redemption Song; Adams '47; The Reprieve; Beaulieu; Scip; Take Me Home.

Personnel: Blake Wilner - guitar; Simon Allen - saxophone; Oli Hayhurst - bass; Jacob Smedegaard - drums.

Title: The Reprieve | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Ant Jazz

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Read more articles
The Reprieve

The Reprieve

Ant Jazz
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read Shafted Album Reviews
Shafted
By Edward Blanco
July 17, 2019
Read Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club
By Don Phipps
July 17, 2019
Read New Year Album Reviews
New Year
By Dan Bilawsky
July 17, 2019
Read Confluence Album Reviews
Confluence
By Karl Ackermann
July 17, 2019
Read Confluence Album Reviews
Confluence
By Dan McClenaghan
July 16, 2019
Read Movimenti Album Reviews
Movimenti
By Geno Thackara
July 16, 2019
Read A New Home Album Reviews
A New Home
By Mark Corroto
July 16, 2019