Recorded live during the Seamus Blake Quartet shows in Italy, Live In Italy is a journey through various textural changes, melodic twists and harmonic happenings. The tracks string a series of vignettes which broadcast the natural occurrences that Blake’s saxophone lines undergo as he weaves and soars across the melodic folds. The metamorphosis which is spawned from the chord progressions course a natural free-fall path while sustaining solid control and harmony throughout the evolving facets. The jittering keys of pianist David Kikoski display delightful whurls reminiscent of ballroom jazz suites as the rhythm section of drummer Rodney Green and double bass player Denton Boller exert a suave billowing which slides with a graceful beating that holds firmly.
Blake’s saxophone traipses gracefully across the soft rhythmic swells of "String Quartet In G Minor" as the piano scrolls scribble energetically in a stately manner. The designs reveal a wide spectrum of emotions which canter with a gentlemanly gait while being mindful of accommodating the melodic versing. The saxophone branches out and retracts in a swirl of sleek ricocheting as the web of wiry bass beats curl and unfurl in a series of responsive reflexes. The quartet works as a solid unit bringing these original compositions to life. The movements alternate from being fiery to moving with the soft graceful sway of gently fluttering feathers. The instruments connect on a metaphysical level like each member knows where the others are at any given time. They complement each other beautifully changing the texture of the pieces and morphing the tracks by expanding its breadth and producing new dimensions of exploration like in the piece "Fear Of Roaming." The quartet’s dialogue is eloquent and emerges spontaneously as the musicians move around each other willfully.
The Seamus Blake Quartet have mastered their playing to bring out the beauty in their creations. Blake was recently acknowledged as an "artist deserving of wider recognition" from the Downbeat Critics Poll. He placed 1st in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition in February 2002 and has performed in a number of jazz ensembles including the Mingus Big Band, the Victor Lewis Quintet, and the Sangha Quartet. As the frontman of his own band, Seamus Blake makes room for creative freedom to thrive while maintaining complete control over the melodic wanderings. Live In Italy sounds like it is just the beginning for the Seamus Blake Quartet, and more is bound to be in store from them.