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Shayari is a curious if excellent album. A number of musicians join saxophonist Ron Blake on this 2008 release, but the instrumental groupings are somewhat unusual. For instance, drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Christian McBride make appearances, but not on the same tracks, so there never is a full rhythm section. (Percussionist Gilmar Gomes and violinist Regina Carter are the other guests.) Pianist Michael Cain, who produced the album, plays on every cut and is clearly a guiding force. Blake, Cain, and DeJohnette make up the trio that plays on “Atonement,” a track that features a post-Coltrane vibe and cliché-free drumming. On “Come Sun,” Gomes, Blake, and Cain team up to paint a lovely impressionist canvas that’s sumptuous rather than abstract. Carter’s earthy violin and Blake’s warm tone make a nice contrast to Cain’s fractured piano on “Of Kindred Souls,” and the leader sounds right at home on the CD’s three covers: Sammy Cahn’s “Please Be Kind,” Ivan Lins’s “The Island,” and Bobby Hutcherson’s “Teddy.” Shayari is a finely crafted work by a distinctive artist.


Born: Virgin Islands

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

A big-toned, gutsy, hard-swinging instrumentalist who is known for hard bop and soul-jazz, saxman Ron Blake should not be confused with either the '60s drummer Ronnie Blake, or the late-'90s- early-2000s trumpeter Ron Blake (a session player who has appeared in rock and R&B settings). Saxophonist Blake (who is best known for his tenor and soprano playing, but can also handle the baritone and alto saxes) can be lyrical or romantic but always brings a lot of grit to his solos; he is obviously well...
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Shayari, Ron Blake
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