Saxophonist Ron Blake returned to the recording studio for the first time in 15 years to make his new album Mistaken Identity.
The tenor and baritone player partnered with guitarist Bobby Broom (who also serves as producer), enlisting a rhythm section comprising bassists Nat Reeves and Reuben Rogers and drummer Kobie Watkins. The album especially showcases the chemistry between Blake and Broom, who have collaborated for more than a quarter century.
Recorded in two sessions in 2018 and 2021, the nine-track collection includes two original songs along with a selection of standards and compositions by jazz greats that have personal meaning for Blake, including songs by Duke Pearson, Sonny Rollins, Johnny Griffin, Benny Goldon, and Bobby Broom himself.
Listen to the lead single “Is that So?”:
For Blake, Mistaken Identity is something of a reintroduction to the jazz scene. Best known for his nearly 20-year membership in the Saturday Night Live Band and his work in the Grammy-winning Christian McBride Big Band, Blake “suffers from a case of mistaken identity because he is underrepresented as the leading tenor saxophone stylist that he is,” Broom writes in the liner notes. “This album makes for an almost undeniable suggestion that all this should finally change.”
Blake previously released four albums as a leader, the latest being 2008’s Shayari. He has also recorded dozens more as a sideman for Joey DeFrancesco, Art Farmer, Kat Edmonson, Roy Hargrove, Dianne Reeves, Jimmy Smith, and many more. He has earned three Grammys as a member of the Christian McBride Big Band, has been a regular member of the Mingus Big Band and Love Rocks NYC House Band, and has taught at the Juilliard School for more than 15 years.
“Mistaken Identity is the culmination of my efforts to be true to myself in the creative process,” says Blake. “I have always maintained that paying homage to those I admire and who have supported me on my journey is a great point of reference in my recordings. This by no means limits my viewpoint and output to what is traditional or considered past tense, but more so an effort to celebrate the timelessness of so many great artists who made it possible for me to explore and create this great and varied form of music in the present.”
Here’s the track listing:
- Is That So?
- When We Were One
- No Hype Blues
- Beyond Yesterday’s Tomorrows
- Grace Ann
- To Be
- Mistaken Identity
Ron Blake’s Mistaken Identity is out Oct. 13, 2023, on 7ten33.