He's not quite a global icon, but a jury of his peers would surely judge the tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake one of the top improvisers working today. In fact, a jury of peer and elder saxophonists officially deemed it so in 2002, when he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Unofficially, he's long held the distinction — since landing in New York in the early 1990s, really — serving with Victor Lewis, Dave Douglas, John Scofield and the Mingus Big Band, among other headliners, all the while finding time to record and perform in multiple settings as a bandleader.
He brought several of his trusted collaborators back to his alma mater for the next installment of The Checkout: Live At Berklee series, featuring alumni of the Berklee College of Music. In a live radio broadcast on WBGO and live online video webcast at NPR Music, the Seamus Blake Quartet performed live at Berklee's Cafe 939 on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. For more information about this series and the full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.
All compositions by Seamus Blake unless otherwise indicated.
- "Amuse Bouche"
- "Winnie's Garden" (Kikoski)
- "The Song That Lives"
- "The Jupiter Line"
- Seamus Blake, tenor saxophone
- David Kikoski, piano
- Matt Clohesy, bass
- Ari Hoenig, drums
Credits: Josh Jackson, producer and host. David Tallacksen, mix engineer. Recorded Dec. 7, 2011 at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. Photo by Armeen Musa/Courtesy of Berklee College of Music.