Recommended: Michael Blake – “Fulfillment”


michael-blake-fulfillmentThere are times when it seems that Michael Blake holds this album together through sheer force of will.

There are so many operating mechanisms and moving parts and mass hysteria, but those beautiful melodies just float effortlessly from the center of all that chaos.  It’s the perfect vehicle to navigate the wildness of the recording, to take it all in like scenic views from a window seat on a speeding train.

What’s particularly crazy about Fulfillment (and it is a crazy album) is that somehow Blake and crew are able to get all these shifting gears and conflicting imagery to unite in a solitary vision, however brief, then eagerly break it apart and start the process all over again.

Sometimes the ensemble serves up a sing-song melody to go with its sing-song cadence, and then goes and immerses the whole thing into an atmosphere of being tossed about in violent seas.  Sometimes the music displays a heart of blues beating strong, and even though the surging intensity pulls hard on its strings, the discernible impression is that of the ineffable confusion of heartbreak.  And then there are moments when the music is solemn and beautiful, simply, before everything returns to a state far more complex and transitory.

I am finding it difficult to explain how special and amazing this album is.

Your album personnel:  Michael Blake (tenor & soprano saxes), J.P. Carter (trumpet, electronics), Peggy Lee (cello), Chris Gestrin (piano, MicroMoog), Ron Samworth (electric guitar, banjo), André Lachance (bass), Dylan van der Schyff (drums, percussion) and guests: Aram Bajakian (acoustic & electric guitar), Emma Postl (voice) and Neelamjit Dhillon (tabla).

Released on Songlines Recordings.

Listen to more album tracks at Songlines’ Soundcloud page, here & here.

Jazz from the Brooklyn scene.

Available at:  eMusic | Amazon