Drummer, composer, and maestro Johnathan Blake continues his sonic journey with Passage, the exhilarating successor to his lauded 2021 Blue Note debut, Homeward Bound.
A poignant ode to his late father, jazz violin luminary John Blake Jr., Passage blooms with heartfelt tributes and a tenacious devotion to musical innovation. On it, Johnathan Blake rejoins his dynamic musical collective, Pentad, featuring the resonant alto sax of Immanuel Wilkins, the masterful vibes of Joel Ross, the soul-stirring piano of David Virelles, and the pulsating bass of Dezron Douglas.
In the symphony of Passage, Blake orchestrates a narrative that carries the torch from Homeward Bound. "Passage encapsulates the continuation of Homeward Bound," Blake reveals, painting the album as a celebration of his father's indelible legacy and life story. This sophomore opus becomes an artistic voyage of its own, channeling the passage from one moment to another, traversing personal and collective evolutions with each resonating note.
The album stands as an epitome of artistic camaraderie, spotlighting Blake's original compositions alongside works by Douglas, Virelles, and the late Ralph Peterson Jr., his cherished drum instructor. A pinnacle of emotion is found in the eponymous title track, a luminous composition penned by Blake's father that mirrors his son's musical soul and personal essence. The piece unfurls with intricate harmonies, Wilkins' poised solo establishing an energetic duality that underpins the entire album, a poised yet potent presence, an embodiment of quiet confidence.
Passage holds the quintet in a heightened state of artistic consciousness, an elevation of their craft. It honors life's vivacity and yearning, offering homage to those who have shaped Blake's musical odyssey and imparted their imprint on his soulful compositions. Blake's reverence extends beyond sound; it's an intricate web of interconnectedness that binds listeners and fellow artists alike. As Blake eloquently puts it, "Pentad is a brotherhood - a convergence of five souls melding into one symphony of sound."
With Passage, Johnathan Blake has crafted more than an album; it's a sonic tapestry weaving together personal narratives, musical brilliance, and the profound bonds that transcend time. The legacy of his father resonates through each heartfelt note, a reminder that music, like life, is a continuum, an unending passage where melodies and memories eternally entwine.