Seamus Blake with the French Connection
Seamus Blake – tenor, Tony Tixier – piano, Florent Nisse - bass, Gautier Garrigue – drums
It's another tenor heavyweight who closes this year’s festival, London-born, Canadian-raised and New York-based Seamus Blake, a musician who shot to prominence on the early 00s jazz scene, after winning the 2002 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition
Saxophonist/composer Seamus Blake is recognized as one of the finest exponents of contemporary jazz. His music is known for its sophistication, bold improvisations and “sheer swagger". John Scofield, who hired Seamus for his “Quiet Band,” called him “extraordinary, a total saxophonist.” Throughout his 24 year career, Seamus has garnered critical praise for his masterful playing, his fine compositional skills and for his facility as a leader. Since moving to Paris in February 2018 Seamus has been invited to perform the music of his CD, "Superconductor" with a number of European Jazz Bands. Beginning with the Latvian Radio Jazz Band early in 2018, Seamus has performed with the Trondheim Big Band and The Sibis Alumni Big Band (Sibelius Institute , Helsinki). Seamus and the French Connection have just released their first CD collaboration - "Guardians of the Heart Machine."
With fifteen albums under his belt, and a slew of high-profile sideman gigs on his CV (including the Mingus Big Band), Blake is a living, breathing, roaring, example of an increasingly rare breed: the tenor saxophone giant.
The French Connection is his project in collaboration with young French musicians pianist Tony Tixier, bassist Florent Nisse and drummer Gautier Garrigue, and is featured on a new album Guardians of The Heart Machine.
Of his new band, Blake says 'it's so refreshing to work with these younger guys', adding that his aim with this new band is to 'integrate and involve elements from outside [the jazz] world.'
In fact, in a jazz scene nowadays virtually drowning in projects purporting to be fusing this music with that, Blake shows how diversity and inclusivity can work when in the hands of a true master musician. Herts Jazz have pulled off something of a coup with this one: an international jazz titan making a rare 'out-of-town' appearance.
What better way could there be for closing a weekend of top quality jazz?
Duration 150 mins