09.15.17Post-Hurricane Irma recording session for Posi-Tone . . .

It's been a wild week, beginning with an all-night drive from Miami to Asheville, NC with Hurricane Irma fast approaching. Haven't been back to Miami yet, but am happy to be safe in Brooklyn for a recording session this weekend. The lineup for that Posi-Tone Records date: Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Mark Ferber (drums), Drew Gress (bass), and Ben Monder (guitar). Looking forward to playing with these incredible musicians and people after all of this craziness!

12.31.16Nice review of Lake Effect by John Gilbreath

Lake Effect – David Ake
Bereaved by the death of his mentor Charlie Haden in 2014, pianist David Ake channels his emotion into this beautiful record, Lake Effect. Opening with “Lone Pine," a solo piano tribute to the late bassist, Ake elicits an acute yet beautiful sadness. With the remaining nine tracks, he leads bassist Sam Minaie, drummer Mark Ferber, and saxophonist Peter Epstein in intimate, beautiful, and nuanced compositions. Listen to the shimmering “Silver Thaw," the wistful “Hills," or the captivating “Two Stones" to feel the raw sentimentality of the album.
Posi-tone Records, 2015
Notes by John Gilbreath

09.19.16_Lake Effect_ featured on RTHK radio Hong Kong

Sending thanks to Charles Martin of RTHK radio in Hong Kong for naming _Lake Effect_ the feature CD of the week on his 3 O'Clock Jump show last night (9-17-16)! I'm very happy and grateful that he enjoyed the music and wants to share it with audiences on that side of the planet!

04.22.16Ake chapter in new book about improvisation in/as/and music education

I'm happy and proud to contribute an essay to the new collection,
_Improvisation and Music Education: Beyond the Classroom_. Edited by Ajay Heble and Mark Laver, other contributors to the book include William Parker, George Lipsitz, Gabriel Solis, Patricia Shehan Campbell, Jane Bunnett, and many other exceptionally creative, smart, and dedicated musicians, scholars, and educators.

Check it out via the link (or at a library near you) . . .

DA

01.08.16Lake Effect named to Best-of-2015 list in France

Nice to see _Lake Effect_ on this list from France's culturejazz!

Here's the original review:
Le label californien Posi-Tone se positionne généralement en gardien du temple du jazz venu du bop plus ou moins hard, souvent funky et musclé ! Pour autant, le producteur Marc Free, Nick O’Toole, l’ingénieur du son, et l’équipe du label n’ont rien de fondamentalistes et nous offrent de temps en temps des occasions d’écouter des musiques plus vagabondes, aérées, voire aériennes.
C’est le cas avec ce beau disque du pianiste David Ake, musicien d’expérience et musicologue (il enseigne à la Case Western Reserve University de Cleveland) dont la connaissance du jazz éclaire des choix artistiques qui recherchent l’épure. Dans cet album où plane l’ombre de Charlie Haden (on pense parfois aux collaborations Jarrett-Haden, jadis), une attention particulière est portée à la finesse des énoncés des mélodies, aux alliages de timbres (la proximité du saxophone et du piano qui cheminent souvent très près l’un de l’autre) et à la sobriété du discours des solistes.
Impeccablement servi par une rythmique très solide et inspirée (Sam Minaie - Mark Ferber), David Ake et son complice Peter Epstein savent mettre en valeur les qualités des compositions du leader mais aussi jouer habilement avec le Bye-Ya de Thelonious Monk ou nous émouvoir avec une des perles musicales d’Egberto Gismonti : Palhaço.
Si la pochette peut évoquer un univers glacé, la musique de David Ake est, au contraire, lumineuse, vivante et libre, dans la lignée de celles de Ralph Alessi ou Ravi Coltrane avec lesquels il a collaboré. Un beau travail de musiciens sereins et très inspirés.

. ::TG ::.

12.31.15Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a 2016 full of health, happiness, love, and music! DA

06.06.15Review of _Lake Effect_ from _Jazz Times_ (Britt Robson)

Pianist David Ake’s Bridges was one of the best jazz outings of 2013, featuring a gentle kaleidoscope of taut yet off-kilter compositions for a sextet consisting of his fellow California Institute of the Arts alumni and associates, including Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Alessi and Scott Colley. Lake Effect is equally satisfying but in a much different, more emotionally penetrating fashion. Since Bridges, Ake has moved back to his Midwestern roots, becoming the chair of the department of music at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. And last summer, he was jolted by the death of Charlie Haden, his musical mentor and the founder of the jazz program at CalArts. Both events affect the shape and purpose of the music here.

An extended quote by Haden about immersion in the music is set over a photograph of a winter lake—it’s the only liner note beyond the recording details. The first composition, the stark and beautifully somber “Lone Pine," is Ake’s solo piano tribute to Haden. For the other nine tracks, the ensemble is pared down to a quartet, with the aforementioned three members absent and bassist Sam Minaie replacing Colley alongside holdovers Mark Ferber on drums and Peter Epstein on saxophones. They provide the right intimacy for the tone poem “Silver Thaw," with Ake’s dappled notes given further nuance by soft chimes to mimic the dripping water. “Hills" is another evocative soundscape, distant in its wistfulness and nonchalance. Even the more ingenious, piquant compositions, similar to the writing on Bridges, such as “Tricycle" and “Two Stones," have an engaging sentimentality. From the Lake Michigan of his Chicago boyhood to the Lake Tahoe of his previous teaching position in Reno, Nev., to the Lake Erie in his current neighborhood, Ake knows the varieties of terrain and seasonal patterns along the waterfront.

04.15.15Step Tempest review of Lake Effect

Pianist/composer David Ake, whose previous Posi-Tone release "Bridges" was one of the more impressive CDs of 2013, has a new album. "Lake Effect" finds Ake in the company of Peter Epstein (alto and soprano saxophones), Sam Minaie (bass) and the master drummer Mark Ferber. There is so much to enjoy in this music from the articulate piano solos to the inventive playing of Epstein to the solid bass work and pay close attention to how Ferber moves the faster pieces and colors the ballads. Several of the tracks have the sound and feel of Keith Jarrett's "European" Quartet (with Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielson and Jan Christensen). "The Cubs" shows that influence in the soprano sax and drums interaction, in the winding road of the piano solo but also notice the vocal-like drumming. Notice the calypso feel in Thelonious Monk's "Bye-Ya", a joyful romp from the opening notes. Everybody gets to play the melody before Ake jumps into his solo, also an extension of that playful theme. Epstein roams far afield but never loses touch with the rhythm section.

A close look at the cover art will give a clue as to the introspective nature of the ballads. The program opens with Ake's original "Lone Pine (for Charlie Haden)" a solo piano piece that is emotionally rich, a simple melody that never loses its way. The melody unfolds slowly on "Tricycle", with Epstein moving high in the alto range; the intensity level ratchets up as well yet the piece never loses its legato flow. "Silver Thaw" opens with quiet piano chords before Ake plays the Erik Satie-like melody. Ferber's percussion is ever-so-soft behind the piano and it may be a moment before you even hear Epstein's alto playing along with the melody. Soprano and piano are the 2 voices on the lovely "Palhaço", an early work of Brazilian composer/pianist/guitarist Egberto Gismonti and I'm not sure mere words can describe the beauty of the performance. The program comes to a close with the title track, another piece that starts quietly (this time, with a bass solo) and slowly builds a fire but not before Ake plays an impressionistic solo. It's Epstein's alto solo that ignites the rhythm section and Ferber who stokes the fire, first in support then taking the lead. As as been stated before on this blog, engineer Nick O'Toole really knows how to record the drum set, putting the listener in the middle and never at the expense of the other instrumentalists.

The title "Lake Effect" may bring to mind cold wind and blowing snow but there is much warmth (and some playfulness) in the music of David Ake. Like fellow pianist Frank Kimbrough, he never wastes a note nor does he ever overplay. He makes certain all the musicians are involved (although I did not write much about bassist Minaie, his forcful work and melodic phrases are integral to the success of the quartet tracks.) Good music for the spring thaw, "Lake Effect" will please you any time of year.

04.15.15Ann Porotti of WTJU (Charlottesville, VA) on Lake Effect

dave ake. lake effect. posi-tone. Dark, elegance in the compositions of pianist/educator david ake; his style leans to modern, minimalist–think early keith jarrett. mostly original compositions that make space for the quartet members– peter epstein on sax; sam minaie, bass; mark ferber@drums. ballads rule, especially lone pine for charlie haden.

04.14.15Chicago\'s Dusty Groove reviews Lake Effect

The lake effect here is a powerful one – a way of building up songs in these blocks of sound that relies heavily on the piano of David Ake, but also draws a lot from the well-crafted saxophone lines of Peter Epstein! Ake\'s approach is somewhat in the more contemporary school of jazz piano – that way of moving boldly with very carefully-chosen chords – but his work also has a darkness that\'s very unique, and a balanced sense of pacing that really makes the work of Epstein even more powerful than it might be in a more freewheeling setting. The group\'s completed by equally-thoughtful work on bass by Sam Minaie and drums by Mark Ferber – and titles include \"Lone Pine\", \"The Cubs\", \"Tricycle\", \"Two Stones\", \"Silver Thaw\", and \"Palhaco\". © 1996-2015, Dusty Groove, Inc.

04.10.15Nice review of Lake Effect from Hobart Taylor at KUCI, Irvine

Pianist and jazz scholar Ake, along with brilliant saxophonist Peter Epstein and a powerful rhythm section, bassist Sam Minae, and drummer Mark Ferber have created an album that displays maturity of vision, profundity of thought and excellence in execution. The compositions, (and I believe they are very calculated compositions not extended improvisations, but it matters not) contain profound melodic structures that satisfy this listener\'s need for complete and discrete works something akin to a Mozart sonata. This is not to be critical of all the various structures and anti-structures in modern jazz, it just to say that Ake does what he does, writing brilliant and complex songs that build on traditional order, theme/exposition, variation, recapitulation, with an inevitability and thoughtfulness that for me is a constant delight. I hesitate to single out any of the extraordinary tunes here, but \"Two Stones\", \"Lake Effect\", and the piano solo \"Lone Pine\" get my vote for classics. P.S. Often I have found new music in the course of reading. Here after listening to Ake\'s music, for the first time, I have discovered a new book (his \"Jazz/Not Jazz\") . (April 7, 2015)

03.24.15Review from France of Lake Effect

Le label californien Posi-Tone se positionne généralement en gardien du temple du jazz venu du bop plus ou moins hard, souvent funky et musclé ! Pour autant, le producteur Marc Free, Nick O’Toole, l’ingénieur du son, et l’équipe du label n’ont rien de fondamentalistes et nous offrent de temps en temps des occasions d’écouter des musiques plus vagabondes, aérées, voire aériennes.
C’est le cas avec ce beau disque du pianiste David Ake, musicien d’expérience et musicologue (il enseigne à la Case Western Reserve University de Cleveland) dont la connaissance du jazz éclaire des choix artistiques qui recherchent l’épure. Dans cet album où plane l’ombre de Charlie Haden (on pense parfois aux collaborations Jarrett-Haden, jadis), une attention particulière est portée à la finesse des énoncés des mélodies, aux alliages de timbres (la proximité du saxophone et du piano qui cheminent souvent très près l’un de l’autre) et à la sobriété du discours des solistes.
Impeccablement servi par une rythmique très solide et inspirée (Sam Minaie - Mark Ferber), David Ake et son complice Peter Epstein savent mettre en valeur les qualités des compositions du leader mais aussi jouer habilement avec le Bye-Ya de Thelonious Monk ou nous émouvoir avec une des perles musicales d’Egberto Gismonti : Palhaço.
Si la pochette peut évoquer un univers glacé, la musique de David Ake est, au contraire, lumineuse, vivante et libre, dans la lignée de celles de Ralph Alessi ou Ravi Coltrane avec lesquels il a collaboré. Un beau travail de musiciens sereins et très inspirés.

. ::TG ::.

03.22.15A short-but-sweet review of Lake Effect from Bird is the Worm . ..

David Ake – Lake Effect (Posi-tone)

Seriously expressive new set from pianist Ake’s quartet. Switches between songs of a bubbling intensity and solo pieces as serene as a morning sunrise. Benefiting the album greatly, Ake gives saxophonist Peter Epstein plenty of room to roll out his solos. (March 21, 2015)

03.17.15Review of _Lake Effect_ by Dan Bilawsky (All About Jazz)


David Ake: Lake Effect
Pianist David Ake strikes a pensive pose on the back cover of Lake Effect, foreshadowing a good amount of the music that follows. With his previous album, Ake reveled in the opportunity to keep listener's guessing from song to song and moment to moment. It was a musical gambit that paid off handsomely, making Bridges (Posi-Tone, 2013) one of the stand-out releases of 2013. Here, Ake takes a step forward by taking a step back. Gone is the striking uncertainty projected through Bridges. Through much of this album, Ake simplifies his surroundings, painting musical reveries with gentle hands and highlighting the simpatico sensibilities of his band mates when the temperature rises.

Ake perfectly connects this music to the title of the record, mixing cool and glacial forms with hotter surfaces. The mellow(er) tracks hew toward a wistful and mystical aesthetic. "Lone Pine (For Charlie Haden)," the brief and placid album opener, is the first number to fall into that category. Further down the line there's "Tricycle," a zen-jazz episode that builds into something bigger before returning to a meditative state; "Hills," which finds saxophonist Peter Epstein and Ake floating atop a sea of serenity; "Silver Thaw," presenting this quartet in a state of repose that involves metallic rustling, two slowly see-sawing chords, and simple utterances; and Egberto Gismonti's "Palhaco," which pairs Epstein and Ake in a gorgeously heartbreaking setting.

The remaining tracks, interspersed between the spacious and introspective offerings, provide injections of energy. "The Cubs" is a choppy and gleeful piece; "Two Stones" is hip in an understated way; "Returning" is spry, whether swinging or stammering; and the rhythmically reconstituted take on Monk's "Bye-Ya" is pure fun. And then there's "Lake Effect," a piece that runs the mellow-to-energetic gamut. Bassist Sam Minaie sets the scene there, gently moving over Ake's piano. Then, it's Epstein's saxophone, Ake's firm chordal support, and Mark Ferber's Brian Blade-ish drum work that help the song take flight.

On every piece here, Ake proves to be a gifted communicator, performer, and composer. His simplest compositions are soothing, heart-on-sleeve expressions and his feistier feats are imaginative and accessible gems that get the heart racing.

09.18.14David Ake's Lake Effect from Posi-Tone Records

Announcing David Ake's _Lake Effect_, featuring Peter Epstein, Mark Ferber, and Sam Minaie.

06.02.14Article from CWRU magazine

01.22.14New review of Ake's book Jazz Matters: Sound, Place, and Time Since Bebop

Scroll down the page from this link for a brand-new review of my not-so-new book, Jazz Matters. I like this piece, not only because it's fair, perceptive, (mostly) positive and written by a scholar, Ben Givan, I respect, but also because it highlights where I'm coming from, literally and figuratively, as a musicologist and places me in the context of other jazz scholars I respect.

01.09.14Story about Bridges in Cleveland Plain Dealer

12.23.13Nice review of Bridges by Hank Shteamer (see 2013 Jazz Top 10)

12.17.13New Review of Bridges

12.13.13Bridges makes Best-Jazz-of-2013 lists . . .

Bridges was named among the best jazz releases of 2013 by:

Burning Ambulance
Down Beat
All About Jazz (Dan Bilawsky)
Jazz Journalists Association (Hank Shteamer)
Baltimore Magazine
The Rhythm of Study

12.10.13Burning Ambulance on naming Bridges to its Best-of-2013 list

10.28.13Los Angeles Times weighs in on Bridges . . .

09.14.13Nice review of Bridges in JazzTimes

08.26.13Bridges receives 4 1/2 stars from DownBeat

06.12.13David Ake Bridges named eMusic jazz pick of the week!

06.04.13Another nice review of Bridges! (You have to scroll down the site a bit_

05.21.13Bridges reviewed by Something Else (S. Victor Aaron)

It’s clear from his latest recorded offering Bridges that the pianist and composer David Ake has a lot to say musically, but this being only his third record over a period of fifteen years, he hasn’t had much time to say it. That’s because Ake is also a scholar, author and member of the jazz ensemble EEA with Peter Epstein and Larry Engstrom. He’s made real good use of the limited time he’s had as a leader, though.

Ake amassed a sextet that’s about as impressive as they come: joining Ake is Epstein on alto sax, Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Ravi Coltrane on tenor sax, Scott Colley on standup bass and Mark Ferber on drums. Alessi, Coltrane and Colley go way back with Ake, who performed with all three while studying at Cal Arts (California Institute of the Arts) in the mid 80s.

Collectively, they pack a lot of power, but it’s more impressive that Ake utilizes that power judiciously. It’s a sextet that leaves a lithe footprint, running the brass on all cylinders only at selected times for better impact (as on the brash “Year In Review"). With exception of the Art Tatum-styled solo piano piece “Waterfront," Ake himself is self effacing, getting more mileage out of making the gold plated parts of his band work with polished, imaginative arrangements. He also takes on the role of the instigating avant-gardist, pushing the band most of the way toward out-jazz on numbers such as on the otherwise old-fashioned bebop delight “We Do?" and that brassy “Year In Review."

But more often than not, Ake makes the other guys the stars, and none more so than Alessi and Ferber. The trumpeter’s sublime articulations are a highlight on “Sonemads," and he soon finds himself in an improvising summit with Colley and Ferber. Alessi takes command of Ake’s sophisticated ostinato “Story Table," and Ferber ably navigates the impossible rhythmic pattern. Alessi is sassy on “Year In Review" and stately on “Grande Colonial." Ferber, meanwhile, masterfully manages the in-song mood changes, such as the bebop/out-jazz/bebop sequence called for on “We Do?" and percolates like Elvin on “Dodge." Ake’s EEA partner Epstein has a real, passionate flair on the alto sax, and he puts it on display for “Story Table" and “We Do?", where he spars buoyantly with Coltrane. And this Coltrane guy, he isn’t so bad, either.

The performances are grand all over Bridges because Ake knows the strengths of every player he’s got at his disposal and lets them do their thing within his well-conceived compositions, resulting in performances that are as unpredictable as it is thoughtful. Connecting all these moods and styles as skillfully as Ake and his sextet does make this an album with the right title.

05.20.13Announcing the release of Bridges, David Ake's newest release on Posi-Tone Records!

Check out the new CD, which features Ake alongside Ralph Alessi, Scott Colley, Ravi Coltrane, Peter Epstein, and Mark Ferber.

03.05.13New review of Jazz Matters . . .

Here's a nice new review of my book Jazz Matters. It was written by Peter Kenagy for the journal American Music.

02.27.13New Chris Clark disc (with David Ake)

Just received my copy of Cedar Wisely, the new CD from Chris Clark Quintet (Songlines Records). Very beautiful tunes and performances. Happy and proud to appear on that disc alongside Peter Epstein, Zach Teran, Jesus Vega, and, of course, Chris himself. Check it out . . .

01.23.13In Between is now available for download through iTunes!

In Between, David Ake's critically acclaimed solo piano recording, first released in 2005, has been re-released by Posi-Tone Records and is now available for download through iTunes!