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Daniel Blake

Idioma disponível: inglês
Saxophonist and composer Dan Blake is a highly inventive, genre-crossing performer whose work straddles acoustic post-bop and contemporary classical. He first garnered attention in the mid-2000s leading groups and working with artists like Esperanza Spalding, Julian Lage, and Carmen Staaf. He has also gained respect as a wide-ranging composer, writing chamber pieces and multimedia works for groups like the Mivos String Quartet, the Brooklyn-based Threeds oboe trio, and the Paris-based Spring Rolls Quartet, among others. Blake's own albums have found him mixing traditional jazz idioms with modern sounds, as on 2006's The Party Suite, as well as exploring more far-reaching harmonies influenced by the work of Anthony Braxton, as on 2010's The Aquarian Suite and 2021's Da Fé. A native of Fairfield, New Jersey, Blake grew up in a creative family with a mother who worked as a fashion illustrator and graphic artist and also played piano. He also drew early inspiration from his grandmother, a pianist who sang in the big band era. After taking piano lessons, he switched to saxophone at age ten. By his teens, he was leading his own jazz ensemble, influenced by artists like John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Following high school, Blake was accepted into a joint five-year program, earning both his Bachelor of Music in jazz from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Arts in child development from Tufts University. In 2006, he made his debut as leader with The Party Suite, an ambitious album mixing traditional jazz and post-bop harmonies. It featured his sextet with reedist Alec Spiegelman, vibraphonist Alexey Tsiganov, bassist Jorge Roeder, drummer Richie Barshay, and percussionist Jorge Perez-Albela. Around the same time, Blake relocated to New York City, where he eventually earned his master's in composition from Brooklyn College of Music and a Ph.D. in composition from the City University of New York Graduate Center. Inspired by composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen and Anthony Braxton (whom he studied under in 2010), Blake continued to develop his sound. His sophomore album as leader, The Aquarian Suite, arrived in 2011 and found him drawing inspiration from Braxton's music and working with trumpeter Jason Palmer, bassist Roeder, and drummer Barshay. The following year, he appeared on bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding's Grammy-winning album Radio Music Society. He has also worked in a variety of settings, touring and/or recording with artists like Danilo Perez, guitarist Julian Lage, pianist Kenny Werner, guitarist Mary Halvorson, sound artist Hans Tammen, bassist James Ilgenfritz, and others. In 2015, Blake debuted a multimedia piece with the Mivos String Quartet, and has composed other such works, including the 2017 chamber piece "Agora," inspired by David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, and 2018's "Upasiva's Question" with the Brooklyn-based Threeds oboe trio. He has also composed commissioned works for the Paris-based Spring Roll Quartet, the Dr. Faustus new music series, and the North/South Consonance Ensemble. Along with performing, Blake is an educator, having held positions on the faculty at the New School for Social Research and at the Conservatory at Brooklyn College. He also produces the annual Concert to Feed the Hungry, a fundraising event helping to end hunger and malnutrition around the world. In 2016, he released The Digging, a small group session with drummer Eric Harland and bassist Dmitry Ishenko. A duo collaboration with flute player Robert Dick, Laugh and Lie Down, arrived in 2021. That same year, he released his fourth album as leader, Da Fé, an ecologically minded production featuring contributions by pianists Carmen Staaf and Leo Genovese, bassist Dmitry Ishenko, and drummer Jeff Williams.
© Matt Collar /TiVo
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