Johnathan Blake: Trion


Recorded live at the Jazz Gallery in 2018 the Blake trio are a fiercely energetic improvising group beginning here with Calodendrum, a two-minute intense drum solo from leader Blake. Having warmed up the trio launch into Synchronicity, a 16-minute free workout. Chris Potter is up first with a blazing tenor solo where he uses the full range of his instrument improvising extensively on the slender theme.

Linda May Han Oh and Johnathan Blake form a tight partnership on bass and drums, constantly driving the music forward and contributing individual solos. Linda Oh provides an extended bass solo on Synchronicity, her supple lines flowing freely in an extended piece that neatly combines solo and bass lines.

Blake’s brief liner note describes Trion as “(physics) a singlet state formed from three atoms of different colours” and indicates that he feels that his musicians are coming together as one to create many different colours within the music. The three have an intuitive feel for the music and work together very well throughout.

On Trope, Linda plays a three and a half minute introduction before the tenor comes in for a lyrical solo at medium tempo. Bass winds around the serpentine tenor lines and drummer Blake pushes them both along with some deft brushwork. Linda comes back for a second extended solo on this 11-minute exercise in total integration.

Nods to the bebop style come with an 11-minute version of Relaxin’ At The Camarillo and the jerky No Bebop Daddy. Although forged in the bop tradition this music is reaching out for a far distant shore and the three musicians sound determined to reach it.

Over just short of two hours the trio produce freely improvised jazz which is both intense and melodic and all are impressive in their individual roles.

CD1: Calodendrum; Synchronicity; Trope (intro) Trope; One For Honor; High School Daze; No Bebop Daddy (61.10)
CD2: Bedrum; Good Hope; Eagle;’ At The Camarillo; Blue Heart; West Berklee Street (50.15)
Chris Potter (ts); Linda May Han Oh (b); Blake (d). Jazz Gallery, NYC, 21 & 22 January 2018.
Giant Step Arts GSA 002