“It’s a testament to Blake’s abilities that he makes his presence felt in any context.” — Downbeat Magazine
Johnathan Blake joins the SJW faculty for the first time this year. Though still young, he’s amassed a list of performance and recording credits that are extremely impressive. He’s also recently released his debut album on Blue Note, Homeward Bound, which adds to his long Blue Note discography as a side player with Dr. Lonnie Smith (Breathe 2021, All In My Mind 2018 and Evolution 2016) and Kenny Barron (Concentric Circles 2018), in whose trio Blake has been a member for nearly 15 years.
He has collaborated with SJW faculty artists such as Ravi Coltrane, Tom Harrell, Donny McCaslin, Linda May Han Oh, and Chris Potter, as well as with countless other distinctive voices, such as Pharoah Sanders, Hans Glawischnig, Avishai Cohen, Jaleel Shaw, Maria Schneider, Alex Sipiagin, and Kris Davis.
Born in Philadelphia in 1976, Johnathan is an heir to the great Philadelphia drum masters such as Philly Joe Jones, Bobby Durham, Mickey Roker, Edgar Bateman, Byron Landham, Leon Jordan, and Ralph Peterson, Jr..
Johnathan studied SJW faculty artist Rufus Reid at William Paterson University, and he began working with the Oliver Lake Big Band, Roy Hargrove, and David Sanchez. In 2006 he was recognized with an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award, and in 2007 he earned his Masters from Rutgers University, focusing on composition, and studying with Ralph Bowen, Conrad Herwig, and Stanley Cowell.
About his debut on Blue Note, Johnathan says, “I wanted to create a record where people would get inside my head. I want them to see the story I was trying to tell. That’s my hope.” We’re proud to welcome this amazing artist to the SJW faculty!