New NYC Jazz Voice - Vibraphone Virtuoso Tyler Blanton Brings His Group to Firehouse 12

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Tyler Blanton, Joel Frahm, Dan Loomis, and Jared Schonig will perform at the Firehouse 12 this Friday, October 5 as part of the Fall Annual Jazz Series.

sophisticated, swinging, and modern in the right ways.

On Friday, October 5th, jazz vibraphonist Tyler Blanton will bring his group to Firehouse 12 as part of its Fall Annual Jazz Series. The group features saxophone titan Joel Frahm, paired with an in-demand young rhythm section of bassist Dan Loomis and drummer Jared Schonig. The group will perform mostly Blanton's original compositions from his debut album Botanic (October 2010, Ottimo Records.) Deeply rooted the classic be-bop tradition, Blanton’s compositions imbue a deep sense of swing and lyricism, defining a fresh and accessible group sound and putting the vibraphone front and center.

Blanton has been regarded as "a young vibraphonist with strong lyrical footing" (Nate Chinen, The New York Times) whose "writing is intricate, but accessible. Lyricism and beauty are at the heart of things, but these guys can swing with authority as well" (George Fendel, Jazzscene). Jazz Inside NY raved "Blanton has an assertively bright, crystalline tone and values gregarious swing and melodiousness highly."

Raised in Ojai, California, Blanton’s early exposure to jazz came by way of his grandfather, a big band saxophonist. After two years at Sonoma State University, Blanton graduated Cum Laude and had gained demand on the West Coast. In 2007 he made a permanent move to New York City. Within a short time, he has made a strong impact on the New York jazz scene. In recent years, he has performed and recorded with a host of leading musicians including; Donny McCaslin, Joel Frahm, Seamus Blake, Matt Clohesy, Richie Barshay, Matt Wilson, and Nate Wood, among numerous others.

While tradition is at his core, a musical philosophy of his improvising and composing is that of taking chances and stretching to new and unexpected places. The rest of the musicians are with him every step of the way. A cornerstone of Blanton’s ensemble, Saxophonist Joel Frahm, is featured heavily on six of the eight original tracks on “Botanic.” Widely known for his work with singer Jane Monheit, Frahm is highly regarded in the modern jazz scene as well. Sought after as a leading voice on his instrument, he has worked with artists such as Brad Meldhau and Kurt Rosenwinkle. His solos on “Vestibule” and “Botanic” raise the excitement level of the music, and tight melodic unisons on “Good Ol’ Joel” and “Hemming and Hawing” highlight the gorgeous blend of soprano and vibes. Bassist Loomis provides relaxed mobility, clean articulation, and light woody tone help weave together “Already Here” and “Little Two.” Drummer Schonig, a veteran of bands led by Wynton Marsalis, Dr. Lonnie Smith and many others, is both versatile and energetic. His musical sensitivity and driving rhythmic fire are best highlighted in the long, through composed “Foreshadowing.”

“Botanic” introduces Blanton as a promising improviser, formidable composer, and bandleader skilled far beyond his years. Jazz journalist Joseph Woodard best summed it up as “… sophisticated, swinging, and modern in the right ways, yet gutsy."

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Ann Braithwaite
Braithwaite & Katz Communications
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