Seamus Blake, Thelonious Monk Competition winner in 2002, teams up with former Bloomdaddies band member Chris Cheek for his latest outing on the Criss Cross label.The CD’s title, “Reeds Ramble”, is taken from a tune by Jerry Reed made famous by country guitarist Chet Atkins. On the CD Seamus and Chris take an extraordinary journey through their influences as a top of the line jazz musicians for the past 25 years.
Two saxophones up front is not your everyday line-up, but Seamus and Chris know each other’s playing so intimately that the results seem magical. They shared the task of song selection, and their choices ranged far and wide. As an opener Chris chose Chico Buarque’s “No Carreira”. Seamus followed with an Eddie Harris tune, “!974 Blues”. Both Seamus and Chris are big Eddie Harris fans ,which should come as no surprise to those familiar with their Bloomdaddies CDs. Seamus has done an Eddie Harris show at Smoke for the last two years and there is talk of doing a live recording of the 2014 gig.
Both Seamus and Chris contribute an original tune. For Seamus it’s “All About Me”. And no, it’s not all about Seamus, but rather a wry reference to the Facebook generation. In an interview with Jazz writer, David Adler, Seamus notes, “Onstage I like to dedicate this to the Facebook generation, taking selfies and posting their twerking videos to instagram” While “All About Me” draws on bebop, Chris’ original, “Blue Moose”, was inspired by listening to country music. And the eclecticism continues with songs by Monk, Brian Wilson and Jim Beard.
The outing ends with a song, “Lady in Langour” by Canadian composer, Vickie Yang. In the Adler interview Seamus comments, “I wanted harmony that was not songbook kind of harmony, but more modern”.
SEAMUS BLAKE tenor sax CHRIS CHEEK tenor & soprano sax ETHAN IVERSON piano MATT PENMAN bass JOCHEN RUECKERT drums
1. NA CARREIRA (Ch. Buarque) 7.50 2. 1974 BLUES (E. Harris) 7.04 3. HOLODECK WALTZ (J. Beard) 6.09 4. BLUE MOOSE (Chr. Cheek) 6.27 5. DE DAH (E. Hope) 6.23 6. ‘TIL I DIE (B. Wilson) 7.34 7. I SURRENDER DEAR (Clifford-Barris) 7.29 8. ALL ABOUT ME (S. Blake) 6.34 9. LADY IN LANGUOR
If you missed the livestreaming from Smalls on September 18 and 19, you can still catch the shows by going to Youtube and typing in the search box, "Seamus Blake at Smalls Jazz Club". You will then need to move the play button along to 2 hours and 25 minutes to the spot where the gig begins. All seven hours of livestreaming are on Youtube, so if you only have time to watch Seamus and Chris Cheek's gig (Reeds Ramble) you will need to fast-forward to 2h 25m. Enjoy the show!