Blake Lyman Plays the Saxophone

Blake Lyman is a saxophonist, composer, and performer. He is best known for his work leading the Blake Lyman Quintet and Blake Lyman Trio, dynamic groups whose music is featured on the critically acclaimed albums Eponymous (PJCE Records, 2013) and Anthology, For Now (2012), respectively.

Originally from Sacramento, California, Lyman has performed worldwide at such venues as Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. While a resident of Chicago, London, and Los Angeles, Blake shared the stage with a wide array of talented and notable musicians.

Currently based in Portland, Oregon, Blake leads multiple groups in performing original music throughout the Pacific Northwest.

He is a graduate of the University of Chicago (AB Economics), the California Institute of the Arts (MFA Music), and an alumnus of the London School of Economics.

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Recording Eponymous - April 15, 2013

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Melodically driven and rhythmically headstrong, the sophomore release of tenor saxophonist Blake Lyman is the kind of music that descends from Clifford Jordan's noirish hard bop of the 70s. Lyman's quintet, which is rounded out by Noah Bernstein on alto sax, Andrew Oliver on piano & keys, Arcellus Sykes on bass and Sam Foulger on drums, is firmly rooted in a post-bop environment, but it's the same cinematic treatment of melodies and definitive, yet flowing percussion that typified some of Jordan's best work. Nice follow-up for Lyman, who was equally impressive on his debut, Anthology, For Now.

David Sumner, eMusic
May 29, 2013


Portland saxophonist Blake Lyman's trio is a bit unconventional. The group is piano-less, with bassist Andrew Jones and drummer Jonas Oglesbee filling out a sound that's surprisingly deep considering its portability. Unlike a lot of debut efforts, Lyman and company also rely almost entirely on originals on debut discAnthology, for Now—Joe Henderson's well-rendered "Black Narcissus" being the lone exception. And in an age where young players often premiere chaotic bursts of sound, Lyman's group prefers to mix straight-ahead sounds reminiscent of pre-bop Charlie Parker and more modern pre-free influences. "Song" and "The Game" feel indebted to John Coltrane, but other tracks remind, funny enough, of pianist composers like George Russell and Bill Evans (the latter was often criticized for doing the sort of multi-track layering that Lyman does on the gorgeous and mathy "Pastoral"). There's an awful lot of talent in the playing here, but the real draw is in Lyman's knack for original composition and the group's noir mood. 

Casey Jarman, Willamette Week
January 13, 2012