Made in China
Résumé Michael Blake: Tenor & Soprano Saxophones
Montreal-born, Vancouver-raised tenor and soprano saxophonist/composer Michael Blake has established himself as a leading voice in contemporary music. For the last 30 years he has made his home in New York City, where he consistently creates music that bristles with originality and vision. He has released 15 recordings as a leader or co-leader and performed on countless sessions with other musicians, has scored music for TV and film, and performed in halls, clubs and festivals in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Most recently he has also lent his talents to projects led by jazz musicians such as Henry Butler/Steven Bernstein Hot 9, Michael Bates, Erik Friedlander and Ben Allison. Frequently touted in blogs and journals as one of the most over-looked artists of his generation, Blake has released 4 albums this year alone.
In 2014 he was commissioned by the Vancouver organization Barking Sphinx to compose a suite commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Canada’s 1914 Kamagata Maru Tragedy, a socio-political tragedy that eventually resulted in the deaths of 19 East Indian would-be immigrants who were on that ill-fated freighter. The premiere of Komagata Maru Blues took place at The Vancouver International Jazz Festival. In early 2015 he received a funding from The Canada Council for the Arts to record his work for Songlines Records. The ensuing album ‘Fulfillment’ was released in early 2016 to great critical acclaim. Along with ‘Fulfillment’ Blake's steadfast output his year continues with the release of 3 other albums: Red Hook Soul (Ropeadope), his score from the 2009 film Vodka Rocks (Bandcamp) and Transmissions (For Tune) by Made in China, a collaborative trio with Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser and American drummer Michael Sarin.
In 2013 Michael received Chamber Music America's New Jazz Works Grant for which he wrote the music for Tiddy Boom (Sunnyside), a hard swinging homage to tenor titans Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young that continues a legacy of rave reviews and ‘Best of the Year’ lists for Blake. His tenure with John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards lasted from 1990-2000 and includes numerous record dates, TV appearances, a live concert film from Berlin, and film soundtracks such as the Grammy nominated score for Get Shorty. During this period he was also a Composer in Residence in the Jazz Composers Collective, a nonprofit, musician-run organization dedicated to presenting original works. Another important group he co-lead was the instrumental band Slow Poke.
Michael is a respected teacher and has conducted workshops and classes in the US, Canada, Mexico, Demark, Italy, Brazil and Thailand. He was on faculty at the Fondazione Siena Jazz (2009-2013) and substitute teaches at New York University and The New School. Website
Résumé Samuel Blaser: Trombone
At a time when more musicians are trying to be heard than ever before, rare gems like Samuel Blaser seem, paradoxically, rise above it all. Since his 2007 debut as a leader, 7th Heaven (Between the Lines), Blaser has grown at an almost incomprehensible rate, from a straight-ahead hard bopper in his mid-twenties to an innovative free player and ever-searching composer and bandleader in his early thirties - one whose improvisational strength has received high praise from media the world over.
Born and raised in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, Blaser lived in New York City for many years before relocating to Berlin, where he currently resides. He began trombone lessons at the age of 9, and his early interests ranged from Swiss folk music to American R&B and jazz. He entered the local conservatory at 14 and graduated in 2002 after being awards prizes in both the jazz and classical spheres, including the 2000 Benny Golson Prize. Samuel won the J.J. Johnson Prize in 2006 and which took him to the USA. Participation in the heralded Vienna Art Orchestra and European Radio Big Band eventually led to a Fullbright Scholarship, facilitating studies in the United States at the Purchase College Conservatory of Music.
In his relatively short career, Blaser has worked with Swiss percussion legend Pierre Favre, pianist Hal Galper, drummer John Hollenbeck and saxophonist Michael Blake, and has worked with Grammy Award-winning producer Robert Sadin, and more recently with François Houle's 5+1 group and Billy Mintz.
2017 will see Blaser touring with two trios: one with guitarist Marc Ducret will also feature Danish drummer Peter Bruun; the other features French pianist Benoit Delbecq and American drummer Gerry Hemingway. Blaser is back on the road with his original quartet to promote an homage to the Delta Blues with Russ Lossing on piano, Masa Kamaguchi on bass and drummer Gerry Hemingway. Website
Résumé Michael Sarin: Drums
Over the last twenty-five years, drummer Michael Sarin has been at the center of New York City’s genre bending jazz and improvisation community. His versatility and musical wit helped forge long associations with forward-looking artists Thomas Chapin, Dave Douglas, Myra Melford, Ben Allison, and David Krakauer.
Born in 1965, Michael was raised on Bainbridge Island, WA—a ferryboat ride from Seattle. His interest in music and the drums came early, nourished by both the record collections of his parents and older sister, and by the AM radio he received at age seven.
His formal music education began during high school with drummer Dave Coleman, Sr. He went on to study drums and percussion with Tom Collier at the University of Washington, and later with master drummer, Jerry Granelli.
Since moving to New York in 1989, Michael’s unique style and approach to the drum set has been highly sought after by NYC and European musicians looking to expand the definitions of jazz and improvised music. He has contributed to recordings by the aforementioned artists as well as those of Frank Carlberg, Anthony Coleman, Mark Dresser, Marty Ehrlich, Mark Helias, Denman Maroney, Simon Nabatov, Mario Pavone, Ned Rothenberg, and Fred Wesley—recordings found on numerous music critics’ Top Ten CD year-end lists.
Michael performs all over the world—in major and minor festivals; concert halls famous and infamous, big and small. He can be heard on recent recordings of Frank Carlberg, Mark Dresser, Joe Fiedler, Erik Friedlander, David Krakauer, and Leslie Pintchik. Website
Current tour dates
7 July – 27 August 2017: Europe
24 October – 5 November 2017: Europe
Contact us if you want to offer a date for this tour, and we will advise you on availability.
Made in China
For most everyone "made in China” is a label synonymous with anything that is manufactured for the masses in a far away place by legions of laborers. However, Made in China will transport you to an idea of a different China; one where throngs of young people in cities like Shenzhen applaud, shout and whistle with excitement for the unpredictable sounds of improvised music. Made in China got its name because the band was in fact "made" in China. Originally organized by a friend to tour China as a quartet that included upright bass, the band found itself with visas in hand but no bass player.
Transmissions contains a program of mostly original compositions by Blake and Blaser including a tribute to the great free-jazz icon Ornette Coleman and a melodic tongue twister called "Mouse". Two covers includea tender rendition of Louis Moholo’s "You Ain't Gonna Know Me 'Cos You Think You Know Me" and the rarely heard Jamaican ska tune "You Don’t Know" which are performed with an abiding reverence that captures every bit of the stubbornness that their titles suggest. The engineer and producer Scotty Hard brings a wealth of experience to this spontaneous recording session that is stunning in its genre-busting variety.
(...) the provocative brassy trio composed by the multi-colored saxophonist Michael Blake, the bouncing trombonist Sam Blaser, and the highly reliable drummer Michael Sarin stepped onto the stage to lead us through an arresting excursion into the traditional swing/blues, adorned with modern flourishes and not rare oriental touches. The cohesive trio sounded vigorous and articulate and showed a perfect understanding of one another in their vivid interactions. — Jazz Trail