Whilst leavening the jazz chops with outside rock and funk elements, Blake doesn't compromise his stance as a firm individualist.
Martin Longley, Jazz Review (10 musicians you must hear)
An accomplished composer ... whose music has an auspicious emotional and structural range.
Jazz Journal International
This is contemporary jazz at its best and some of the finest dynamic music on current offer.
Wes Gillespie, EuroclubdeJazz
As with many of the evening's other pieces, the work then strayed into emotionally ambiguous territory, with tempestuous outbursts and moments of astounded revelation. An imaginative and original quartet.
James Griffiths, The Guardian
Blake Wilner is an individual voice on guitar. Reflective, with a distinctive approach to composition, his pieces are lyrical, melodic and attractive. Solos are clean and spacious, and the result of concentrated thought. His career usefully demonstrates the international nature of jazz, and its ability to absorb music from anywhere in the world
Mike Butler, Metro
The Blake Wilner Quartet is considered one of the most exciting, individualistic and innovative young jazz groups performing at the moment. The group brings together guitarist Wilner’s long-time collaborator, expat Australian saxophonist Brandon Allen and his favourite UK musicians, bassist Oli Hayhurst and drummer Chris Hutchings. Wilner describes how the new album came about: The music on Interloper was inspired by a transient life in London: observations and experiences with musicians, artists, places and the pressures and pleasures of being far from home. Every composition was arranged to highlight the musicians within the quartet; they are some of the most distinctive in UK jazz. The objective being to emphasise the lyricism and collective potential of the group’s instrumentation.
The Quartet tours Australia in June and July of this year, and the UK throughout November and December (UK dates to be announced).
The Blake Wilner Quartet was featured on a Jazzwise compilation CD of Cheltenham Jazz Festival artists, and its third album, The Reprieve, reached the finals of the Sony International Jazz Competition for independent recordings. Wilner was featured in a Jazz Review article entitled ‘Ten Musicians You Must Hear’. Wilner’s compositions have many stylistic influences: swing, groove, minimalism and pop and previous albums have featured arrangements of contemporary pieces by artists such as Bob Marley and Tom Waits. The Quartet has played renowned festivals such as Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Greenwich Jazz Festival and the City of London Festival as well as performing extensively throughout the UK.
Blake Wilner was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1973. He has a Certificate of Music from both the Australian Institute of Music, and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and an Associate Degree of Music for jazz performance from WAAPA. Before moving to the UK, Wilner spent time in New York where he studied with jazz greats Rufus Reid, Richie De Rosa, Mick Goodrick, Kenny Wessell and Jeff Ciampa. His time in New York inspired his 2000 album of original compositions, A Thought of NYU. Wilner's second album, The Bookshop, was released in 2002 and featured music composed whilst living in London. In 2003 and 2004 he led the quartet on highly acclaimed Arts Council England sponsored tours of the UK, the second of which promoted the UK release of his third recording, The Reprieve. In 2004 he was a finalist in the Jerwood/PRS Foundation Initiative and in APRAs PDAs. In 2005, Wilner performed extensively as a freelance musician and made a return visit for two months to New York. He holds teaching positions at the London Contemporary College of Music, Kingston University and the Blackheath Conservatoire.
Brandon Allen is originally from Australia but now resident in London. He has worked extensively in the jazz, pop, R’n’B, funk, modern classical and dance idioms as well as working as a session player for commercial music and films. In addition to The Blake Wilner Quartet, Allen is currently a member of the Guy Barker Group and Dylan Howe’s 5 Corners. Oli Hayhurst, on double bass, was a founding member of the Orient House ensemble with Gilad Atzmon, in which he toured extensively in the UK and Europe. His diversity has seen him perform with Paul McCartney, John Paricelli and Martin Speake. Since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in 2001, drummer Chris Hutchings has performed with many renowned UK artists including Stan Sultzman, Tim Garland and Gilad Atzmon. In 2001 he won the Perrier Best Band award with his own Quartet.