Friday, January 31, 2014

David Blake Next Year People 2014

David Blake brings an amazing ability to turn classic influences such as Jim Hall and John Scofield in a unique artistic vision for a natural evolution in modern jazz guitar. An amazing debut!
Brent Black /

Somewhere the guitar gods are smiling down on me having received the aptly titled Next Year People from David Blake. A Dec. 31st 2013 release date is throwing caution to the wind not to mention a debut recording with eight originals and only one cover but here is where the release takes off!

David Blake can crawl inside a ballad and play with an introspective authority. There is also the ability to push a vibrant swing or punctuate the harmonic atmosphere with a smoldering Latin tune that makes that rare modern jazz transition. Typically a debut release is one where the artist is best left with the advise of not getting in their own way and to never attempt to write a check your interpretative skills are unable to cash. Blake has mad skills long past the typical triad stage yet the release is as expansive technically as it is concise. Nothing ostentatious here. Lyrical subtlety is enhanced with a first rate rhythm section of Wynston Minckler on double bass and Juno award winning Dan Gaucher on drums. The cover is a slightly eclectic tune Chet Baker fans will remember and appreciate in "My Ideal." Blake tunes such as "Slow Lights" and "Cold House, Warm Heart" are well written and slightly odd metered gems that are certainly reminiscent of such influences as Kurt Rosenwinkel but it his own voice and vision that transform Next Year People from more than the predictable release of riffs and instead highlight Blake as a performer who is as artistically gifted as he is technically proficient.

Next Year People is as ambitious as it is introspective. The perfect storm. The future for modern jazz guitar is indeed bright with players such as David Blake.

Tracks: Next Year People; Small Abyss; Eureka Europa; My Ideal; Zunukwa; Not Your Lanai; Slow Lights; Won't You Wait With Me?; Cold House, Warm Heart.