Versatile saxophonist, clarinetist, flutist, composer, and educator Daniel Blake has been a featured soloist at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, The Regattabar, Ryles Jazz Club, and numerous New England festivals. Mr. Blake has performed or recorded with Herbie Hankcock, Christian McBride, Jerry Bergonzi, Mulgrew Miller, Danílo Perez, Claudio Ragazzi, John Betsch, and Phil Markowitz, among others.
Blake began studies on piano at age 5 before switching to saxophone at age 10. Growing up in New Jersey, there were many opportunities to hear great jazz musicians in New York City and at local jam sessions, instilling in Blake the roots of jazz rhythm that inspired him to be a part of this great tradition. Upon moving to Boston, Daniel Blake quickly became regarded as a leader among his peers, leading jam sessions and residencies of his own for the past four years at various jazz clubs and art galleries in the greater Boston area.
Mr. Blake, who has been called “bold and intriguing” by Bill Buettler of the Boston Globe, has most recently released his first debut compact disc, “The Party Suite.” This recording is unique in that it harkens back to the grooves of Sidney Bechet, Herbie Nichols, and Thelonius Monk, maintaining a signature forward-thinking sense of melody and harmony. He also appeared on percussionist Richie Barshay’s debut album “Homework”, featuring jazz legend Herbie Hancock (Bronze Records, 2004). This record is a truly new statement blending Indian, African, and jazz rhythms through original compositions. Daniel also frequently “commissions” his own performances for which he writes extended pieces for voice and ensemble (2003, 2004, and 2005), expressing a love for poetry inspired by his studies with the late Steve Lacy. Daniel Blake has also appeared on two recordings with the Boston-based jazz fusion quartet Ellipsis (Telepathyrecords, 2002). He also appears on up-and-coming Argentian vocalist Sofia Koutsovitis’ debut record, “Ojala”. No matter the musical context, Danílo Perez has said, “Daniel Blake is committed to doing justice to any musical situation.”
Mr. Blake is constantly striving to blend seemingly disparate styles into one overarching musical statement. This ideal has led to his co-founding “The Boston Jazz Collective”. This organization unites and empowers all of its members to reach larger audiences by coordinating promotional efforts both online (www.thebostonjazzcollective.com) and through newsletters. The BJC features a monthly calendar of events and works closely with venues, recording studios, and media outlets to allow greater communication between artists and audiences. The organization has several community events lined up for 2005, and is gaining the support of most of the key figures on the Boston jazz scene.
Daniel Blake is also quite active as an educator. His experience as a teacher started in high school as the founder, director, and arranger for the jazz program at The Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, NJ. Since high school, Mr. Blake went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Tufts University, a training which lent greater insight into how children learn best. Currently, Mr. Blake teaches woodwinds and improvisation at Milton Academy, Powers Music School, and has his own private studio.
Daniel Blake is a graduate of the New England Conservatory with a distinction inperformance Phi Kapp Lamma, as well as Tufts University’s Elliot Pearson School of Child Development, cum laude. He has studied under many great jazz masters such as Steve Lacy, Danilo Perez, Dave Liebman, Bob Brookmeyer, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, and Bob Moses. Mentor Dave Liebman has said, “Daniel is one of the most diverse and adventurous young players I have heard in some time. We can expect great things from him in what I am sure will be a long career in jazz.”