Johnathan Blake

Johnathan Blake is one of the most talented drummers his generation. He has also proved himself to be a versatile and complete musician, “the ultimate modernist,” John Murph from NPR has called him. Blake’s ability to compose and lead a band, as he so clearly demonstrated in his 2012 album The Eleventh Hour, is a result of years of studio and live experience. Blake has enjoyed the many benefits of being exposed to some of the greatest musicians of our time, including the Kenny Barron Trio, the Tom Harrell Quintet and others over the years. His powerful and evocative drumming, as well as his fully-rounded artistry, have made a significant impact on the music of rising jazz stars like Shauli Einav and Jaleel Shaw. Blake has been featured on more than 50 albums to date. Johnathan Blake was born in Philadelphia in 1976. His father, John Blake Jr., is a jazz violinist who has been a significant influence on his style and career. Johnathan began playing drums when he was 10 years old. He then gained his first experience performing with the Lovett Hines Youth Ensemble, which is led by Philly’s jazz educator. Blake started to compose his own music during this time, thanks to Hines. He later worked with Robert Landham, a saxophonist, in a youth ensemble at Settlement Music School. Blake graduated from George Washington High School. He then attended the highly regarded jazz program at William Paterson University where he studied alongside Rufus Reid and John Riley. Blake began his professional career with Roy Hargrove, David Sanchez, and the Oliver Lake Big Band. He was awarded the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award in 2006. In 2007, he received his Masters degree from Rutgers University. His focus is on composition. Conrad Herwig, Ralph Bowen and Stanley Cowell were among his teachers. Blake is acutely aware of Philadelphia’s historical role as an American music nerve center. He has spent time immersed in Philadelphia’s rich history — not only jazz, but also soul, R.

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