Alexander artiest Seamus Blake

Seamus Blake
"After years of frustration with reeds I have finally found some that are consistent, well crafted, and longer lasting. Alexander Superial and "DC" reeds are a joy to play. During the the Thelonious Monk Competition, I was trying them out comparing them with another well known brand. I ended up playing a Superial No. 4 and it won me 1st prize!
The Superial tone is full and beefy with excellent response and altissimo is effortless. Superials offer a huge range of sound from ppp to fff. In addition to superior tone they have a longer life span and that means less frustrating moments looking for a good reed and more time spent practicing. They are the best reeds out on the market."
Seamus Blake is a very talented saxophone player whose career has been skyrocketing.... Why? Because among other things, Seamus was recognized early on as being an exceptional saxophonist and this was verified by his taking First Prize in one of the most prestigious honors in jazz...The 2002 Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition for Saxophone.
That Seamus Blake has been endowed with an extraordinary amount of talent can be attested to by, among other things, the fact that soon after arriving in NYC he started playing with some top musicians on the scene there. John Scofield picked him up and brought him on tour when he was 26. Since then, he's gone on to play to perform live and or record with such artists such as Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz, Brian Blade, Don Braden, Randy Brecker, Scott Colley, Adam Cruz, Ronnie Cuber, Billy Drummond, Robin Eubanks, Craig Handy, Philip Harper, Vincent Herring, Conrad Herwig, John Hicks, Kenny Drew Jr., David Kikoski, Frank Lacy, Victor Lewis, Andy Mckee, Brad Mehldau, the Mingus Big Band, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Renee Rosnes, Mark Shim, Gary Smulyan, Bill Stewart, John Stubblefield, Mark Turner, Steve Turre, Jeff Tain Watts, Steve Wilson , Britt Woodman , and others. Seamus is obviously more than a "Young Lion"... a mature and highly advanced jazz musician whose name and music we are sure you are going to be hearing more and more about in the coming years...And he's not just tied to one style of jazz either, as you can witness with his work in the Brooklyn based Bloomdaddies, which melds eclectic grooves of funk/rock/jazz/country into an intense musical blend.
To return to Seamus's winning performance in the Monk Competition, it's both interesting and relevant to note what some of the judges had to say. Unlike some competitions or prizes whose panel of judges might be made up of non playing critics, the Monk board is different. They are all players and in this case, I do mean PLAYERS: Wayne Shorter, George Coleman, James Spaulding, Don Braden, and fellow World Artist Joshua Redman. Joshua, who by the way won the competition himself in 1991, had this to say about Seamus Blake: "Seamus had this musical completeness. He had the most beautiful sound, incredible lyricism, total command of harmony, incredible time. And what really stood out was his ability to tell a story. He was playing a pile of tenor, but he had his own voice in everything that he did. I was a judge six years ago when Jon Gordon won, and I thought that was an incredible level of competition. But I think this far surpassed it."
Redman, however, said Blake's triumph didn't come as a great surprise. "Seamus was on the scene in Boston when I was learning to play," he recalled. "I consider these guys peers, really -- that's why being a judge felt a little strange. Seamus is one of the best players of his generation."
Seamus Blake has been a World Artist now for several years and I had a great time hearing and hanging out with him at the Mingus Big Band's 2005 Christmas Week gig at the Tokyo Blue Note. In a group of ALL blowing saxophonists, Seamus stood out with a tone and ideas that were so hip and distinctive, and it's was obvious why so many people are talking about him these days.
Recent gigs have included stints with the Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra, Joanne Brackeen, Tom Harrell, Vincent Herring, & Mulgrew Miller at Carnegie Hall, Alex Sipiagin, Ari Hoenig and many others, as well as a new recording with his own band and some more info about Seamus's cds can be found at his record company