‘Guardians of the Heart Machine’ – the debut Whirlwind release from tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake – symbolizes and protects the importance of creating music with feeling, blending his considerable experience in contemporary jazz with three exciting players originally from the French scene – pianist Tony Tixier, double bassist Florent Nisse and drummer Gautier Garrigue.
Born in London, raised in Vancouver, and a student of Berklee, Blake has released eight albums as leader and contributed to numerous other recordings. Back in 2002 as winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, he delighted in playing alongside Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. Heralded as one of the most influential saxophonists of his generation, his extensive career has included collaborations with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Dave Douglas, Antonio Sanchez, Michael Brecker, and as a member of John Scofield’s Quiet Band, the guitarist hailed him as “extraordinary – a total saxophonist.”
Blake wrote and arranged especially for these artists: “My idea was to bridge what I consider elements of European and American styles, writing music I like to play, but also with a European sensibility, including classical harmony and certain types of groove.”
That verve is evident in the title track, whose anthemic drive and melodic hooks are informed by Blake’s indie-rock interest; and the loping gait of “Vaporbabe” was inspired by the 9/8 hand-drum and clapping rhythms of a street band in Istanbul. Other tracks include the furtive “Sneaky D”, which confirms the saxophonist’s penchant for strong melody, sparking off his rhythm section’s vitality.
Personnel: Seamus Blake (saxophones and vocals), Tony Tixier (piano), Florent Nisse (double bass), Gautier Garrigue (drums)
FORMAT: 180 gram, 12” 2x Gatefold LP (4 sides of music – A, B, C, D) – comes with download code containing the digital album in multiple formats.
Guardians Of The Heart Machine / Vaporbabe / Sneaky D / I’m OK / Lanota / Wandering Aengus / Betty In Rio / Blues For The Real Human Beings / The Blasted Heath