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Michael Blake

Michael Blake

Tenor saxophonist and composer Michael Blake’s first outing as a leader, Kingdom of Champa (Intuition), is as successful as it is ambitious. Lushly produced by Teo Macero in a style befitting its epic sweep, Champa is a challenging, multifaceted, seven-movement suite based on Blake’s experience of touring the Vietnamese countryside with his former wife, a Vietnamese-American returning home to her family for the first time since the end of the war.

Blake says he found the experience in Vietnam “very moving, because I felt kind of like a spectator at first, but then it became very intense. I dislocated my arm at the beach, trying to body-surf, which really pretty well shook me up and shook my Vietnamese family up. I had always travelled in bands, where you’ve got that safety net all the time. To be detached from that was a good learning experience for me.

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