A look inside The Jazz Gallery

From the cover of "The Eleventh Hour" (Sunnyside)

Drummer Johnathan Blake seldom has a moment to spare. His longstanding tenure in the bands of Tom Harrell, David Sanchez, Russell Malone and Kenny Barron – not to mention sideman work with dozens of others – makes his time a limited and highly sought-after commodity.

Yet Johnathan has made it a priority to carve out time to lead his own ensemble, and to develop it into an ensemble “with a sound“. We’ve presented Johnathan’s own projects over a dozen times dating back to 2004, and watched him cultivate his vision closely and carefully with his collaborators.

On Tuesday night, Johnathan will celebrate the release of his debut album, The Eleventh Hour (Sunnyside), at The Gallery. He’ll be joined by his longtime associates (and Jazz Gallery veterans) Jaleel Shaw, Mark Turner, Gerald Clayton, and Matt Penman.

We’re providing a sneak peek at the album in anticipation of the event. Stream “Freefall” below:

“Freefall” was named after a miscommunication during a performance: Johnathan announced that the band was about to play “a new tune”, but an audience member thought he said “Newton”. She explained later that the association with Sir Isaac Newton had caused her to interpret the song as a “free fall.”

Want more? Check out Johnathan’s recent interview on WBGO’s The Checkout, or just buy your tickets now.