28 March 2007


Alex Blake with his quintet featuring Pharoah Sanders live at the Knitting Factory in 2000.Here's a fairly understated review from Ken Taylor at AMG.Personally I think it's great and props to Miles over at WonderfulSound for bringing it to my attention some time ago.

Now is the Time is a series of impeccably performed tracks culled from Alex Blake 's live sessions at New York's Knitting Factory. Though nothing intensely brilliant evolves out of Now, the musicianship is paramount and unmatched on any late-'90s jazz recordings. Blake, who started as a bass player in Sun Ra 's Arkestra at a very young age, sits himself comfortably in the background as it seems piano and drums take most of the attention on the record. John Hicks' piano playing immediately recalls McCoy Tyner 's, while Victor Jones and Neil Clarkt tap out rather complex beats that help to build the central framework of the seven solid tracks. Now Is the Time is Blake's first record as a bandleader, and it proves he has come a long way since playing in the bands of Dizzy Gillespie and other post-bop performers. Surprisingly, the record is quite traditional in its style, covering "On the Spot" and plotting along through some familiar jazz territory. Perhaps a bit more experimentation would set the record aflame considering Pharoah Sanders ' and Blake's worlds don't usually collide in such predictable space. Still, it's an incredibly joyous record that doesn't seem steeped in trying to bring about any great meaning. Though Now Is the Time may seem pedestrian, it simply illustrates Blake's ability to play all manner of music, ranging from traditional jazz to avant-garde to rock. To say that Blake never steps forward is an understatement, though. He rarely plays a simple walking bass line as he usually flecks them with slaps and skitters to make for exciting listening. "The Chief" and "Little Help Solo" see Blake riffing and improvising in some swung-out solos, but for the most part he's content to sit back and provide the structure for the others to create their magic.

Still available on cd - ripped from this at 256.


Boromir said...

Great post. Many thanks.

dell said...

good drop. i have no idea why i didnt hae this already. oh, well... grassy ass.

Licorice Pizza said...

Bacoso, Many thanks for the great music you have shared here. I have been exposed to some great artists I otherwise would have overlooked. I speak often with your drinking mate and between the two of you have actually gotten to hear some great tunes. Not certain if you are into MiX/Comps but I have just completed one that you might enjoy. I will add link at the end. Many thanks again for the time and effort and glad to see that we escaped the same fate of deletions as our mutual friend encountered at the recent demised C&D. LP


trane said...

Hi, first of all let me tell you how great your blog is, with this terrific idea of making mostly out of print lp’s available!
I also wanted to ask if you could upload this file

I don’t want to put any pressure, but I will be online till the 24th, and then again from the 4th of January onwards.

Thanks a lot
(my email: sparti@unisi.it)