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Blake Wilner

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Biography of Blake Wilner

The Blake Wilner Quartet is considered one of the most exciting, individualistic and innovative young jazz groups performing at the moment.

The quartet was featured on May's Jazzwise compilation CD of Cheltenham Jazz Festival artists, and its third album, The Reprieve, reached the finals of the Sony International Jazz Competition for independent recordings. Wilner was featured in a Jazz Review article entitled 'Ten musicians you must hear'. His compositions have many stylistic influences: swing, groove, minimalism and pop and feature arrangements of contemporary pieces by artists such as Bob Marley and Tom Waits. The quartet has been featured at such renowned festivals as the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, the Greenwich Jazz Festival and the City of London Festival and has performed extensively throughout the UK.

Wilner was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1973. He has a certificate of music from the Australian Institute of Music (as well as from the WAAPA) and an associate degree of music for jazz performance from the Western Australian Academy Of Performing Arts. Before moving to the UK, Wilner spent time in New York where he had the opportunity to play and study with jazz greats such as Rufus Reid, Richie De Rosa, Mick Goodrick, Kenny Wessell and Jeff Ciampa. His time in New York inspired his 2000 album of original compositions, A Thought of NYU. Wilner's second album, The Bookshop, was released in 2002 and featured music composed whilst living in London. In 2003 and 2004 he led the quartet on Arts Council of England sponsored tours of the UK, the second of which was to promote the UK release of his third recording The Reprieve. These heralded much acclaim. Tour venues included the National Theatre, The Stables Theatre, Band On The Wall, The Cluny, One Eleven Club, HiFi Club, Square Chapel Arts Centre and Henry’s Jazz Cellar. In 2005, Blake performed extensively as a freelance musician and made a return visit for two months to New York with Danish bassist Henrik Jensen. In 2004 he was a finalist in the Jerwood/PRS Foundation Initiative and in APRAs PDA’s. He currently holds teaching positions at the LCCM, Kingston University and the Blackheath Conservatoire.

The quartet will be touring Australia in June / July 2006 and the UK in November / December to promote a new release, Interloper.

Whilst leavening the jazz chops with outside rock and funk elements, Blake doesn't compromise his stance as a firm individualist
Martin Longley, Jazz Review

An accomplished composer... whose music has an auspicious emotional and structural range
Jazz Journal International

As with many of the evening's other pieces, the work then strayed into emotionally ambiguous territory, with tempestuous outbursts and moments of astounded revelation. An imaginative and original quartet.
James Griffiths, The Guardian

This is contemporary jazz at its best and some of the finest dynamic music on current offer.
Wes Gillespie, EuroclubdeJazz

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