Michael Blake


Knitting Factory Records (KFW 304)

Michael Blake, tenor & soprano saxophones; Frank Kimbrough, piano; Ben Allison, bass; Mike Mazor, drums.

With this new CD, Michael Blake and his colleagues set themselves apart from the pack. The success of this recording lies in its use contrasting, expressive themes and rhythmic approaches; this advanced aesthetic isn't so easily pigeonholed. Blake's tenor sings in the beautiful title track, a deeply eloquent meditation that segues to a gentle groove; Kimbrough is a powerful, unifying force here. Mazor and Allison's polyrhythms erupt in the whimsical, polytonal piece, "Merle the Pearl". "Lucky Charms" epitomizes spacious ballad playing. And the heartfelt "Anthem for No Country" is sure to bring the house down. The nine pieces presented here provide a good introduction to a most memorable group.

by James D. Armstrong, Jr.

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