Seamus Blake Quintet/Sextet: Four Track Mind

One of the most versatile of the younger breed of academically trained jazzmen, Canadian-born, New York-based tenorman/sopranist Blake has been attracting considerable attention of late by virtue of his ongoing appearances with John Scofield’s group and the Mingus Big Band, as well as his sideman recordings with Kevin Hays, Victor Lewis and Billy Drummond, among others. On this, his third leader date for Criss Cross, Blake mates himself again with Hays, bassist Larry Grenadier and Drummond, and on a few of the seven tracks, with longtime Berklee buddy, tenorman Mark Turner and new friend, trumpeter Tom Hagans. Six of the tunes are by Blake and these range from contemporary funk, basic blues and neo-Afro-trad through soul, while the remaining piece, written by a former girlfriend, reflects the tenorman’s attendant interests in modern classical forms.