There are legions of still unsung sax players out there whose star nonetheless flickers and shines every so often.
None more so than the Montreal born 52-year-old Michael Blake whose new Red Hook Soul is released this autumn. Cue another chance to sparkle.
New York-based, in 2013 Michael received Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works Grant for which he wrote the music for Tiddy Boom. And in recent years he was also commissioned by the Vancouver organisation Barking Sphinx to compose a suite commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Canada's 1914 Kamagata Maru Tragedy. In early 2015 he received a funding from the Canada Council for the Arts to record this music for Songlines Records.
On the new album, listen to the infectious title track above, he is joined by Tony Scherr, lead guitar; Avi Bortnick, rhythm guitar; Erik Deutsch, piano and Yamaha Y45D; Tim Luntzel, electric bass; Moses Patrou, percussion; and Tony Mason, drums, the album described by the label as a “party album varying from retro dance grooves swimming in percussive nuance to riveting jam band forays... about Blake’s real life nitty gritty experiences playing in the dive bars of NYC,” and contains originals of the tenorist’s and covers of Gladys Knight, Otis Redding, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Ray Charles and Lana Del Rey songs.
Released by Ropeadope on 14 October.