Johnathan Blake, one of the most in-demand drummers of his generation, has
done stellar work as a member of the Tom Harrell Quintet, the Mingus Big Band, the Kenny Barron Trio and many others. Having brought his fire and agility to two Criss Cross sessions by trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, Blake now offers his first Criss Cross album as a leader, Gone, But Not Forgotten.
The lineup is sparse but tremendously explosive -- how could it not be, with evolving tenor saxophone masters Mark Turner and Chris Potter paired alongside Ben Street on bass.
As the title suggests, Gone, But Not Forgotten takes inspiration from greats in the jazz world who are no longer with us. That can be a somber subject, but Blake and his quartet convey a sense of the unbridled joy and invention that marks jazz improvisation at his highest levels. Such is the lesson taught by the departed players Blake has chosen to honor: Charles Fambrough, Trudy Pitts, Sid Simmons, Cedar Walton, Jim Hall, Mulgrew Miller, Paul Motian, Frank Foster, Frank Wess and Eddie Harris.