John Blake

Born: July 3, 1947    Primary Instrument: Violin

John Blake

John Blake, Jr. has been one of the world’s leading jazz violinists for over four decades. A four-time winner of the Down Beat Critics’ Poll Violinist Deserving Wider Recognition category he was also one of the top two jazz violinists in the 49th, 50th, and 51st Down Beat Readers’ Poll, Classically trained, Blake first gained recognition on early-'70s recordings he made with Archie Shepp and in the mid-70s became established with a global audience during three years recording and touring as a member of Grover Washington, Jr.’s popular “crossover” jazz band. He then spent five years working extensively as a member of various ensembles led by pianist McCoy. Among other artists with whom Blake has performed and/or recorded with are the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Turtle Island String Quartet, Quartet Indigo, the Steve Turre Sextet, the Billy Taylor Trio, Avery Sharpe, Cecil McBee, Jay Hoggard and James Newton. Blake released his recording debut as a leader and composer, Maiden Dance, in 1984, the first of five well-received projects on Gramavision Records including one that teamed him up with fellow jazz violinists Michal Urbaniak and Didier Lockwood. He released his sixth album, Quest that reunited him with Grover Washington and featured Joe Ford, Charles Fambrough, Ben Riley, Omar Hill, Joey Calderazzo, on Sunnyside Records 1992. Blake’s first recording with his current quartet, The Traveler, was released in 2007....
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A four-time winner of the Down Beat Critics’ Poll Violinist Deserving Wider Recognition category he was also one of the top two jazz violinists in the 49th, 50th, and 51st Down Beat Readers’ Poll
Throughout his career, John Blake has veered back and forth between R&B-ish sets and more adventurous dates. A pleasing if not overly distinctive violinist, the versatile Blake has played in a wide variety of settings. After advanced classical study, he first gained recognition for his early-'70s recordings with Archie Shepp. During the next decade, Blake recorded with McCoy Tyner, James Newton, Cecil McBee, Jay Hoggard, and Grover Washington, Jr., touring extensively with Tyner and Washington. He made a series of generally interesting, if diverse, sets for Gramavision in the 1980s (including a fascinating 1986 date with fellow violinists Michal Urbaniak and Didier Lockwood) and one CD for Sunnyside in 1992, showing a lot of potential. (ALL MUSIC by Scott Yanow)


As a Leader

The Traveler
Quest (Sunnyside Record SSC 1058)
A New Beginning (Gramavision 18-8808)
Adventures Of The Heart (Gramavision 18-8705)
Twinkling Of An Eye (Gramavision 18-8501)
Maiden Dance (Gramavision GR 8309)

With McCoy Tyner

Horizon (Milestones M-9094)
La Leyenda de la Hora (Columbia FC37375)
N.Y. - Montreux Connection (Columbia FC 37652)

With Sumi Tonooka

Kindred Spirits(Spirit Records)

With Grover Washington, Jr.

Live At The Bijou (Kudo KUX 3637M2)
Reed Seed (Motown M7 910R1)
Baddest (Motown M9940A2)
Paradise (Electra 6E182)

With Archie Shepp

Attica Blues (Impulse AS-9222)
Cry of My People (Impulse AS-9231)

With Avery Sharpe

Avery Sharpe & John Blake Duo Epic Ebony Journey(JKNM Records AS89893)

With James Newton

James Newton (Gramavision GR 8205)
Luella (Gramavision GR 8304)
African Flower (Blue Note BT 85109)

With Steve Turre

Fire & Ice (Stash Records ST-CD-7)
Right There (Antilles Records 314-510040-2) With Others 7 In 7 Out (Rainbow RR 2010) The Young Lions Featured as one of 17 "Exceptional Young Musicians" at Carnegie Hall Kool Jazz Festival, 1982. (Electra/Musician 60196-1) Love Survives Jay Hoggard (Gramavision GR 8204) Flying Out Cecil McBee (India Navigation In 1053) Children of the Fires Marvin Peterson (Sunrise 1944) A Tear and a Smile Catalyst (Muse 5069) Unity Catalyst (Muse 5042) Unlock the Funk Locksmith (Arista AB4274) The String Summit One World in Eight (MPS 0068.275) You Are My Starship Norman Connors (Buddah 0698) Quartet Indigo Quartet Indigo (Landmark Records LCD 1536-2)

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