Dan Blake’s “Da Fe”
Does righteousness have a sound? Can good intentions be heard in the language of music? Saxophonist/composer Dan Blake’s new recording, Da Fe, attempts an aural answer to those questions, and the results are convincing. A Buddhist, social justice warrior, and former member of the Esperanza Spalding band, Blake’s values are deeply humanist and compassionate; on the new album, which often sounds like Wayne Shorter at his exploratory best, the music is both an assemblage of pleasing and provocative sounds and an aural reminder that we collectively have much to work on. A listener may not necessarily know the theoretical underpinnings of each composition, but he surely feels it.