Best of 2016 #4: Michael Blake – “Fulfillment” (Songlines)


Fulfillment should probably be my album of the year.  I always struggle with the decision.  Typically it’s a toss-up between my top two albums, but this year, the real contenders are doubled.  Even now, as I type this, I’m tempted to tinker with the order of things.  Saxophonist Michael Blake‘s 2016 release is astonishing, exploding with intricate details and unleashing one grand statement after the other.  It seems none of its countless pieces snap into place… they all just huddle close together, in tight and moving en masse, with the grace and elegance of a kettle of hawks soaring overhead, with the raw power of rain drops slamming down upon the earth.  Everything about this album indicates a sound and vision steps ahead of the music of today.  For the better part of a year, I’ve been captivated by this album.  It is pure enchantment.  It’s getting the #4 slot on this year’s list, but in the grander scheme of things, of the music that matters and embodies the best qualities of creativity, Fulfillment sits atop a plateau all its own.

Jazz from Brooklyn, NY.

Read more about the album on Bird is the Worm (LINK).