Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I first met drummer Johnathan Blake in Toronto a few years ago. I was studying composition with saxophonist Tim Ries at the time at the University of Toronto and when Tim couldn't make his teaching commitments he would often send a sub from New York to teach for him. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Johnathan Blake during one of Tim's absence's. Johnathan is a very fine drummer who's been playing with the likes of Kenny Barron, Russell Malone, the Mingus Big Band, Omer Avital and Tom Harrell lately. When you see him play the first thing you'll notice is how extremely low and flat he sets up his cymbals. I experimented with that myself a long time ago in Montreal. Bassist Sage Reynolds used to refer to this setup as "Jon's Buffet" (!) I've since move them up again with the cymbals angled again however this setup works well for Johnathan. He is a very accomplished musician and I expect we'll hear more of this great drummer in the future.
Here he is with bassist Omer Avital (one of my favorite contemporary Jazz composers these days):
With Kenny Barron and trio:
Here with his own trio featuring saxophonist Jaleel Shaw:
And some great footage with the Tom Harrell Quintet:
And finally here with the Mingus big band: