Michael Blake: The Creep
Michael Blake (tenor & soprano saxes)
Drift (Intuition INT 32132)
Michael Blake (tenor & soprano saxes),
Ron Horton (trumpet, flugelhorn), Steven Bernstein (slide trumpet), Marcus Rojas (tuba), Briggan Krauss (alto & baritone saxes), Peck Allmond (tenor sax), Frank Kimbrough (piano), Tony Scherr (guitar), Ben Allison (bass), Matt Wilson (drums), Mauro Refosco (percussion).
Composed by Michael Blake.
Recorded: New York, September 4-5, 1998 and January 6, 1999
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
One-time Montreal Canadian and now transplanted New Yorker, Michael Blake demonstrates his respect and affection for the old big band masters and the sound they were famous for, particularly Duke Ellington. In this effort he has skillfully arranged a disparate group of musicians and instruments to create that big band sound with punch and authority. Working with Ben Allison's Man Sized Safe group and the eclectic Herbie Nichols Project, Blake has proven his ability to shine in many different genres. His sax musings have a raw and throaty sound that is reminiscent yet retains a unique sound. Here he shows his mettle as arranger and composer. The 11-piece band is kept in tight formation throughout while still permitting their individual sounds to seep through. Rojas's tuba gets a title role in this quirkily distinctive pastiche of sounds. Kimbrough's piano has an engagingly entertaining honky-tonk vitality. The composition takes multiple turns winding through several different elements from our musical past. Horton's plungered trumpet is most evocative, and when the band starts into its eventual swing he plays with great ease and fluidity. Blake takes his turn with an inspired and demonstrative tenor solo. He bellows with gusto and a raunchy tone that sandpapers into your soul. The finale ends with an appropriate drum roll and a parting tuba refrain. Cool stuff.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello