March 1 – Michael Blake Trio

Hello dear listeners!

We are very excited to start of the month of March with the Michael Blake Trio!


Michael Blake Trio:
Michael Blake – tenor and soprano saxophones
Ben Allison – bass
Kenny Wollesen – drums

Sunday 1 March, Michael Blake Trio

Doors at 2:30 PM, concert begins at 3:00 PM sharp.

“Over the last 15 years or so he’s amassed a dazzling, distinctive body of work.”
-Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader

In a career spanning over three decades, Michael Blake has recorded and released 12 CD’s with many of the leading musicians in the field of jazz and creative music. His work embraces dimensions of sound beyond the traditional but is also rooted in structures that define the art form of jazz. His latest recording Tiddy Boom was released on Sunnyside Records October 28th, 2014 to widespread acclaim.

Bassist/composer Ben Allison is known for his inspired arrangements, inventive grooves and hummable melodies. Ben draws from the jazz tradition and a range of influences from rock and folk to 20th century classical and world music traditions, seamlessly blending them into a cinematic, cohesive whole.

Drummer Kenny Wollesen has worked with everyone from Tom Waits to Bill Frisell. He is the backbone of dozens of bands including the undefinable Sex Mob. He has also led a marching band and collaborated with Blake in their ground breaking quartet Slow Poke.

Michael Blake

Ever since striking out on his own Michael Blake has established himself as a leading voice in contemporary music. The Canadian born saxophonist/composer has made New York City his home for over 25 years where he consistently makes music that bristles with originality and vision. He has recorded with countless other musicians, scored music for TV and film and performed in the worlds finest concert halls and jazz clubs. The influential tenor and soprano saxophonist also lends his talents to projects led by master musicians including Ben Allison, Henry Butler, Erik Friedlander, Enrico Rava, Sam Blaser and Steven Bernstein. Last year Michael received Chamber Music America’s 2013 New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Michael recently premiered the work entitled Contrasts in Individualism: Reinterpreting the Innovations of Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young with his band World Time Zone in NYC. He was also commissioned by the Vancouver creative music organization Barking Sphinx to compose a work about the 1914 tragedy based on a socio-political struggle that resulted in the loss of life for Indian passengers aboard the ill-fated freighter Kamagata Maru. Michael will premiere the piece this summer at The Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

Michael has produced 10 CD’s as a leader, each album highlighting his talents for arranging and conceiving new material. This year Blake’s steadfast output continues with the upcoming debut of his new work Contrasts in Individualism. His 2012 release In the Grand Scheme of Things (Songlines Records) – an electro-acoustic program of originals inspired by the cycle of life that binds us all – showcases Blake’s Vancouver group the Variety Hour with mastermind keyboardist Chris Gestrin at the MOOG synthesizer. The same year Union Square (Abeat) a trio album with bassist Ben Allison and drummer Rudy Royston demonstrate Blake’s affection for both pre-bop nuance and post modernism. Michael’s 2010 CD Hellbent is from a live performance and highlights the saxophonist’s fearless improvising along side the ferocious drumming of Philly free-funkster Calvin Weston and Tuba virtuoso Marcus Rojas. Delving further into unexplored territory is Control This (Clean Feed), an engaging free-jazz duo album with the tirelessly creative Danish drummer Kresten Osgood. His 1997 debut CD, Kingdom of Champa (Intuition) is often referred to as a masterpiece. Produced by the legendary Teo Macero, it is an empathetic musical travelogue of Vietnam featuring a brilliant cast of NY players. The follow-up album Drift (Intuition) was chosen by Jazzthing Magazine’s Critics Pick as Best CD of 2000. Right Before Your Very Ears (Clean Feed) is an off-the-cuff improvised album for Trio featuring drummer Jeff Ballard. Elevated (Knitting Factory Works) would be a traditional quartet album but for Scott Harding’s ingenious production. With a cunning and young rhythm section urging him on, his Copenhagen based group Blake Tartare produced both Blake Tartare and More Like Us (Stunt Records). Two subsequent albums include forays into new waters and highlight Blake’s writing for percussion and strings: 2007’s Amor de Cosmos (Songlines) and 2008’s The World Awakes/A Tribute to Lucky Thompson (Stunt Records).

His tenure with John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards lasted from 1990-2000 and includes numerous record dates, TV appearances, a live concert film from Berlin, and film soundtracks such as the Grammy nominated score for Get Shorty. During this period he was also a Composer in Residence in the Jazz Composers Collective, a nonprofit, musician-run organization dedicated to presenting original works. Another important group he co-lead was the instrumental rock band Slow Poke. Along with David Tronzo on slide guitar, producer/bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen, Slow Poke produced two albums: Slow Poke at Home (Palmetto) and Redemption (Intuition).

Michael is a respected teacher and has conducted workshops and classes in the US, Canada, Europe, Brazil and Asia. He is on faculty at the Fondazione Siena Jazz Summer Workshop (2009-present) and teaches part time at New York University. Known for his warmth, patience, and enthusiasm Michael shares personal anecdotes, opinions, humor and more for all to read on his blog

Among the many artists he has recorded and performed with are Ben Allison, Hamid Drake, Oliver Lake, Nicole Mitchell, Kenny Werner, Greg Osby, Eric Harland, Steve Cardenas, Matt Wilson, Frank Kimbrough, Ted Nash, Steven Bernstein, Ben Perowsky, George Colligan, Grachon Moncour III, Medeski Martin and Wood, Ray Lamontagne, Enrico Rava, Stefano Bollani, Jeff Ballard, Larry Grenadier, Giovanni Guidi, Gianluca Patrella, Thomas Morgan, Gerald Cleaver, Mark Helias, Mario Pavone, Tommaso Cappellato, Bill Ware, Groove Collective, The Gil Evans Orchestra, Kamikaze Ground Crew, Jack McDuff, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Ben E. King, Chubby Checker, Neil Sedaka, Dione, Natalie Cole, Martha and Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave and Pinetop Perkins. He has worked with such luminary producers as Teo Macero, Tricky, Prince Paul, Hal Wilner and Sir Coxsone Dodd.

Ben Allison

Bassist/composer Ben Allison is one of a few band leaders working in jazz today who has developed his own instantly identifiable sound. Known for his inspired arrangements, inventive grooves and hummable melodies, Ben draws from the jazz tradition and a range of influences from rock and folk to 20th century classical and world music traditions, seamlessly blending them into a cinematic, cohesive whole.

With his groups The Ben Allison Band, Man Size Safe, Peace Pipe, and Medicine Wheel, Ben has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Brazil, winning fans and building new audiences with an adventurous yet accessible sound and a flair for the unexpected.

Recent performance highlights include Carnegie Hall (New York City), Teatro Manzoni (Milan, Italy), Central Park’s SummerStage (New York City), Auditório Ibirapuera (Sao Paulo, Brazil), The Capitol Theater (Salt Lake City, NV), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA) and Queen Elizabeth Hall (London, England).

In 2005, 2008 and 2013, Ben was a featured composer, arranger and performer with Jazz Sinfonica, an 80-piece orchestra based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The orchestra performed Ben’s compositions Little Things Run the WorldRiding the Nuclear TigerRoll CreditsGreen Al, and others from his various albums.

Ben performed his Carnegie Hall debut as a leader in February 2012.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Ben has performed and collaborated with a wide variety of artists including oudist Ara Dinkjian, kora player Mamadou Diabate, saxophonists Lee Konitz and Joe Lovano, legendary performance artist Joey Arias, tap dancers Jimmy Slide and Gregory Hines and US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, to name just a few. He has appeared on over 50 albums by various artists and has written music for film, national television and radio, including the theme for the National Public Radio (NPR) show On the Media (which boasts a listenership of over 2,000,000 people), the score for Two Days, a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Donald Margulies and the theme for The Conversation, a webcast talk show hosted by Pharrell Williams.

Kenny Wollesen

Drummer Kenny Wolleson performed on over 30 recordings during the 1990s and, as the decade progressed, gained increasing renown as a musician of astonishing versatility, skill, and ingenuity. He has recorded and toured with all kinds of musicians, from Tom Waits (Wolleson performs on Waits’ 1993 collaboration with William S. Burroughs, Black Rider), to Sean Lennon, to Ron Sexsmith (Wolleson performs on his second album, Other Songs). A founding member of the New Klezmer Trio, Wollesen is also all over N.Y.C.’s downtown jazz and avant-garde musicians’ recordings.


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