Geoffrey Keezer - Piano
Ron Blake - Saxophone
Harlem in the Himalayas Series
150 West 17th Street NYC
February 22, 2008 - Showtime - 7:00 PM
Admission $18 in advance/$20 at the door
For information call (212) 620-5000
Geoffrey Keezer Bio:
Geoffrey Keezer was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA on November 20, 1970. Born into a musical family, with both parents teaching music, he began studying piano at the age of three. In 1989, at the age of 18, after completing his first year at the Berklee College of Music, Geoffrey joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Since then, Geoffrey has worked with virtually all of the living legends of jazz and has appeared on countless recordings both as a leader and as an accompanist. His professional career has spanned many projects and genres. In 1992 Geoffrey performed Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue" with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under the direction of John Mauceri. In addition to his 11 solo releases and constant touring, Geoffrey has also had compositions commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Saint Joseph Ballet, Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, the Zeltsman Marimba Festival, and was a recipient of Chamber Music America's 2007 New Works grant. He has also played bass in a rock band and contributed artwork to David Mack's comic Kabuki".
Geoffrey continues to work in partnership with world class musicians from all genres. His 1998 release, Turn Up The Quiet", featured Grammy winning vocalist Diana Krall along with Joshua Redman and Christian McBride. His partnership with world renowned classical artist Barbara Hendricks as musical director and arranger produced It's Wonderful -- A Tribute to George Gershwin" with subsequent touring in Europe and Japan. His two releases in 2003, Falling Up" and Sublime: Honoring the Music of Hank Jones", were both collaborative efforts. Sublime" is an ambitious set of piano duets with Kenny Barron, Chick Corea, Benny Green and Mulgrew Miller. Falling Up" features several pieces where Geoffrey worked in tandem with the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitarist, Keola Beamer. His 2005 release, Wildcrafted", captures the fire and raw energy of Geoffrey's trio live in concert at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. And in 2006, Geoffrey teamed up with traditional Okinawan singer Yasukatsu Oshima for a groundbreaking album of duets. Geoffrey's latest musical adventure, UREA, is a multinational Afro-Peruvian/jazz recording project featuring some of today's hottest players from New York City and Lima, Peru.
Ron Blake Bio:
Multi-talented saxophonist Ron Blake inhabits many worlds, and nowhere is this more apparent than on his third release for Mack Avenue, Shayari (shy-ree). Produced by pianist Michael Cain (who also appears on the CD), Shayari (the meaning, in Urdu, a type of ancient poetry consisting of couplets and a highly stylized form of verse considered extremely beautiful) combines fertile ground from each of Blake's worlds to create an extraordinary landscape of its own. Showcased here in an intimate, unplugged, trio setting, the CD also features performances by special guests drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Christian McBride, violinist Regina Carter and percussionist Gilmar Gomes. Blake, a strikingly tall, Virgin Islands-born native, is based in New York City. He is a well- rounded musician and has recorded three CDs as a leader; in addition, his discography numbers more than 50 recordings as either a guest or sideman with leading artists. They include Roy Hargrove; Art Farmer; the Christian McBride Band; Spirit Music Jamia; Red, Hot + Riot; and the Grammy nominated, Latin pop group, Yerba Buena; also, Blake has recorded soundtracks (most recently on El Cantante starring Marc Anthony/Jennifer Lopez). The multi-talented musician is entering his third season as a member of NBC's Saturday Night Live Band. About the new recording, Shayari, Blake says, This record is more introspective than earlier projects. It's an acoustic collection of trios. Compositionally, it lends itself to some of the ideas introduced on my most recent recording, Sonic Tonic. I worked with Michael Cain to put this recording together; everything stemmed from us trying to find people to collaborate with to create a distinct, aural setting not unlike Sonic Tonic."
That aural setting primarily features the tenor saxophone, the piano, drums and percussion. Blake's broad, tenor tones irradiate all of the 13 tracks buoyed by Michael Cain's florid and fluid piano; Gilmar Gomes's sympathetic nuances, and Jack DeJohnette's all-world drumming. Some of Shayari's songs are reprises of Blake's older material. The opener Waltz For Gwen," is a pleasing ode to his mother, previously recorded with Blake playing soprano sax on his first outing as a leader, Up Front and Personal, distributed by his (then) own Tahmun Records label. The foreboding piano ostinato drives Atonement," a previously un-recorded Blake composition in two sections, laced with DeJohnette's dramatic fills and solo. Says Blake, The groove on this lends itself to something I would connect with [songs/grooves on] Sonic Tonic [on this CD]; structurally, it's a more improvisational approach."