Michael Blake-Amor de Cosmos
from Vancouver BC
Vancouver-raised, New York-based saxophonist/ composer Michael Blake has established a commanding international presence during the last decade. He’s released seven CDs as a leader and can also be heard on discs by the Herbie Nichols Project, Ben Allison, and John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards. Michael synthesizes elements of swing, bop, free jazz, funk, blues, and pop music by combining old school elegance and lyricism with downtown eclecticism and innovation. His most recent CD Amor de Cosmos (Songlines) focuses on the political, social, and cultural history of nineteenth-century British Columbia and specifically the politician William Alexander Smith, who renamed himself Amor de Cosmos. In keeping with the theme of the recording, Blake’s sidemen are all resident players — the crème de la crème of Vancouver’s jazz scene — Brad Turner trumpet, Sal Ferraras marimba/percussion, Chris Gestrin piano, André Lachance bass, Dylan van der Schyff drums. The music is beautiful and stimulating and it reflects Blake’s pan-cultural perspective and varied compositional approaches.