'Blake Tartare organically covers a range of stylistic territory, unfolding narratively through the course of the CD. It is another convincing musical statement, well supported by Blake's finely chosen cast.' Sean Fitzell, All About Jazz, June 2004 There's something lusty in the horn lines of the Brooklyn saxophonist, and if a Danish rhythm section can't bring it to the fore, who can? Don't buy into the 'raw' aspect of the moniker, they are well seasoned.' Jim Macnie, The Village Voice, October 2003 'I LOVE this band; their commitment to play their hearts out and their asses off is without reproach. They're hardcore, and so there every step of the way.' Indeed, you can see these guys LIVE to play, and you can absolutely tell they've been playing together for a couple of years now.You get the sense there is nothing else and they want nothing else. They're in it body and soul and never for under 100 per cent. Josephine Ochej - 2004 Vancouver International Jazz Festival - All About Jazz Biographies of the Band Michael Blake This saxophonist, composer and arranger has established a commanding presence in the jazz idiom. His work gracefully erases the borders between fields of music. In 2002 he was recognized in Downbeat Magazine's 50th Annual Critics Poll for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition categories for tenor sax, soprano sax and jazz artist of the year. He was also sighted as a 'new jazz star' in the July 2002 issue of US World News Report. For almost two decades the New York City resident has presented an array of innovative bands and compositions that display his keen ability to simultaneously embrace jazz history while challenging it head on. That coupled with a natural and relaxed approach to improvisation is why Michael received a grant from the Doris Duke Foundation's New Works for Jazz Program. He has also received numerous grants from The Canada Council for the Arts for composition and to help fund his frequent appearances in Canada at summer jazz festivals. His new CD and band Blake Tartare (CDbaby) finds Michael mixing it up with an ensemble of inspired young Danish musicians. This groundbreaking group has been touring in Italy, Germany and Canada while making concert appearances at home in New York City and Copenhagen. Michael's 2002 disc Elevated (Knitting Factory Records) received rave reviews in Downbeat, The Village Voice and Time Out NY. It may be his most traditional session to date but the leaders lyrical ear has a way of making the familiar sound fresh. His critically acclaimed debut CD Kingdom of Champa (Intuition) was released in 1997. Produced by the legendary Teo Macero, it is a mesmerizing musical travelogue featuring a brilliant cast of NY players. The same for his follow-up album Drift (Intuition), hailed by Jazzthing Magazine's Critics Pick as Best CD of 2000. Blake was cofounder of Slow Poke, a band including world-renowned slide guitarist David Tronzo, bassist/guitarist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Their meeting on a summer afternoon in Brooklyn brought forth the classic recording Slow Poke at Home. A 1998 debut label release Redemption (Intuition) marks a sublime journey by one of NYC's coolest bands. Michael is actively involved in the downtown music scene. His tenure with John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards spans over a decade and includes numerous record dates, TV appearances, a live concert film from Berlin and film soundtracks like the Grammy nominated score for Get Shorty. Michael is a Composer in Residence in the Jazz Composers Collective, a nonprofit, musician run organization dedicated to presenting the original works of composers. He contributes to many Collective activities including Ben Allison's groups Medicine Wheel and Peace Pipe as well as their repertoire ensemble The Herbie Nichols Project. Michael continues to actively tour, record, compose and perform. He contributed music for HBO Films drama Everyday People and wrote the theme music for the Sundance Channel's Conversations in World Cinema as well as the prominent indie channel's ID menus. A live CD Hammond Rens - recorded with legendary jazz organist Dr.Lonnie Smith - is now available online. Expected this summer is an exciting free wheeling trio album called Right Before Your Very Ears (Clean Feed Records). Then sometime in the unforeseen days ahead Blake Tartare will be putting out their new CD. This one is mixed by Michael's longtime collaborator, engineer and producer Scott Harding. Among the many artists Michael has recorded and performed with are Ben Allison, The Herbie Nichols Project, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Gil Evans' Orchestra, Ben E. King, Tricky, Prince Paul, DJ Logic, Roscoe Gordon, The Groove Collective, Jack McDuff, Steven Bernstein, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Hal Wilner, Sir Coxsone Dodd and Pinetop Perkins. KRESTEN OSGOOD is well on his way to becoming one of Europe's most recognized jazz visionaries. The accomplished 26-year-old drummer was Educated at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen where he studied with American drum legend Ed Thigpen, He is also an accomplished composer, pianist and plays the Hammond B3 organ. Kresten has released two critically acclaimed jazz albums and a hip-hop project co-lead with Soren Kjaergaard which was nominated by the Danish Grammy's for 'Best Newcomer of 2001'. He has been featured in a number of Danish Jazz Magazines and is considered a young giant among the jazz community there. In 2001/2002 he lived in New York City where he played with Blake Tartare, Tim Berne, Brad Mehldau, Johsua Redman, Peter Brontzman, Peter Bernstein, David Tronzo, Phil Woods, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Kresten recently released a 2 CD recording from a 2002 tour which features his compositions played by legendary jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith. He has recorded with Sam Rivers, Monty Alexander, John Tchicai, Derek Bailey, Sam Yahel and dozens of Danish musicians. The 25-year-old keyboardist SOREN KJAERGAARD started playing piano at age 6. He entered the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, Denmark, at age 19 and is regarded as one of the most talented young pianists on the Danish jazz scene, winning the Nordic Talent Launch in 2000. Soren leads his own trio Fuscia and is also a partner in Kresten Osgood's hip-hop band 'Ikscheltaschel'. Most recently he was living and studying in New York City where he performed/recorded with Tim Berne, Derek Bailey, William Parker, Jim Black, Andrew D'Angelo, Herb Robertson, Tony Malaby, Tom Rainey and Steven Bernstein. Soren and his cousin Kresten Osgood have just completed recording a new 'Ikscheltaschel' CD. Bassist JONAS WESTERGAARD has performed with just about everyone in the Danish jazz scene, including John Tchichai, Jens Winther, Bent Jaedig and Doug Rainey. The 25-year-old started his life in music as a pianist but switched to bass on which he studied with Bo Stief. Jonas attended the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen where he was extremely active playing with Soren Kjaergaard's Fuschia and Jacob Anderskov's Award winning group Dr. Structure. Jonas has toured Europe and the United States extensively with Mad Cows Sing, a Danish New Music ensemble. In 2001/2002 he lived in New York City where he performed with Tim Berne, George Garzone, Curtis Fowkles, Herb Robertson, Tony Malaby, Tom Rainey, Steven Bernstein and David Tronzo. Currently all three Danes reside in Copenhagen where they are actively performing and recording.