Michael Blake: ElevatedYou can buy it here.
While composing and arranging new music is Michael Blake's main motive, this timely KFR debut release by the Brooklyn based saxophonist offers listeners the first opportunity to hear him in a traditional setting. Blake's original compositions exist in the spiritual roots of jazz but his concept points in new directions. The ever-percussive bassist Ben Allison and visionary pianist Frank Kimbrough join drummer Mike Mazor to provide Blake's luscious tenor and soprano saxophone room to ascend.
Elevated is rich with hypnotic bass lines, chant like melodies and sultry grooves. From the swirling loop of the title track to the melancholy laden "Lucky Charms" (a nod to saxophonist Lucky Thompson), Blake's set presents an ethereal blend of east meets west. While visualizing an airport image for the cover art (the JFK TWA terminal) and song titles like "In the Arms of Ali" months before 9/11, he had no idea how haunting they would become.
This heartfelt collaboration distinguishes Blake and his cohorts from the headstrong technicians of their generation. The saxophonist is clearly carving out a unique approach that mixes the restraint of Lester Young with the spiritual vibrancy of Pharoah Sanders. Blake can be heard playing both horns at once on the dreamy tone poem "Old News, New Blues" and the only cover; a funky rendition of Abdullah Ibrahim's track for Claire Denis' film "No Fear, No Die".