A review of a Michael Blake album

This is about the fifth Michael Blake album I’ve heard. I’m not saying it’s the best, but I’ve never written anything about the others so that says something doesn’t it? The album I’m all excited about is called

The World Awakes: Tribute to Eli Lucky Thompson

I have to say straight away that I’d never heard of Lucky Thompson, but that kind of makes it interesting doesn’t it? A bit like enjoying an actor’s impersonation of someone that you’ve never seen. You don’t have to get hung up on whether it’s a good impersonation or not. Even without the reference you still get something of the style, the musical dynsasty. As you might expect from a tribute album it’s not really breaking new ground. It is great music, but the intention isn’t to shock or create the next Shape Of Things To Come. What makes it so good is that the more you listen to it the more it unpeels, like an onion. Each layer you strip away is clean and fresh. It’s really quite amazing how diverse the influences and styles that are represented here really are. When you first listen to it, you don’t think “oh there is klezmer and south african” as well as some be-bop, hip-hop etc.. . It’s so deep in the mix you don’t see it at first. Everything is so coherent that the influences seem secondary. Like soup boiled down to make new flavours. This is really compelling music. Actually it may even be new music that is emerging after all. Sure, there is replication (and you can feel the concern for authenticity) but it’s never lazy emotionally. Whether it’s explicit and uncensored or ephemeral mixtures of bitter and sweet it just feels vivid and sparkly throughout. This is a great album. Thank you Michael.

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