Dan Blake

Multi-instrumentalist, contemporary composer, performer and educator

Multi-instrumentalist, composer and activist Dan Blake has developed a wide-ranging career as a contemporary composer, performer and educator that “regards tradition as a welcoming playground best approached with a sense of wonder and adventure” (The Boston Globe). Blake’s music has been called “stunning” (All About Jazz), and his most recent release “The Digging” was described as “a creative essay on what can be done in the trio format” (Ottawa Citizen). In addition to his work as a leader, he has toured and recorded with three-time Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding, NEA Jazz Master Anthony Braxton, and Velvet Underground founding member John Cale, among many others. In his extended multi-disciplinary compositions, Blake weaves together his interests in world music, contemporary improvisation, animation, and performance art. This genre-bending catalog of works has earned him support from the Jerome Fund for New Music, ASCAP, and New Music USA, as well as a 2022 Fellowship from New York State Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Pullitzer Prize-winning composer Tania Leon has said, “Daniel Blake is a talent whose time has come. He is doing great things.”

A musician keenly interested in bringing music together with social justice causes, Blake serves on the board of Buddhist Global Relief (www.buddhistglobalrelief.org), an organization that alleviates poverty, hunger and malnutrition in poor communities around the world. He is also co-coordinator of Art & Culture for the New York State Poor People’s Campaign (www.nysppc.org). He holds a Ph.D. in composition from the City University of New York and is currently on faculty at the New School for Social Research where he teaches courses on the intersection of music and social justice.

Solo saxophone project coming!

I am currently at work on my next album, which will be a solo saxophone book and series of compositions focusing on extended techniques. Each piece will focus around a different “corner” of the instrument, with essays describing the history and development of that technique by other masters, as well as influences from other kinds of music that helped me to arrive to that sound. Here is a taste of where this material is headed!

Composers Now IMPACT Reel

I am proud of this artistic statement, and am honored to have been invited to put it together for the venerable organization “Composers Now”!

Got My Wings

This is the result of a 2-year project reflecting on the life and writings of Jarvis Jay Masters, renowned Buddhist practitioner and author who has been incarcerated on death row for over 30 years for a crime he did not commit. Featuring Westchester Ballet Company, choreography by Tomiko Magario – performance produced in February 2023 by Creative Arts Alliance.

Awarded 2022 NYFA Fellow!

I am thrilled to have been awarded the 2022 New York State Council On the Arts Fellowship in music! Can’t wait to put these award funds to good use this year – look out for new projects on the way!

Read more about this prestigious award here

New Sunnyside Album!

“One of the most relevant and musically rich albums of 2021 in any style of music.” – Alan Young

I’m thrilled to announce my fourth album as a bandleader – now out on Sunnyside Records!

Release concert March 26 at Soapbox Gallery! Read a recent rave review at All About Jazz here

March 26 we will host an album release livestream at the Soapbox Gallery in Brooklyn, NY!

More info HERE


New Release! Robert Dick & Dan Blake (Chant Records)

I’m very happy to be a part of this new release with the legendary flutist and composer Robert Dick.

Artwork by Sabina Hahn, and click the link above to read the notes by renowned journalist Allan Kozinn!