Guitarist and composer David Blake is a musician who strives to connect his deep passion for the jazz tradition to his fascination with contemporary improvisation and composition. Growing up in Vancouver, David started his musical journey on the saxophone, learning (by accident!) the music of Charlie Parker. As a teenager, guitar players like Jimi Hendrix and Angus Young caught his interest, and from there he quickly found himself checking out players such as Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery. After discovering these jazz guitarists, David studied for several years with Bill Coon before enrolling at Capilano University. Since then, David has studied with New York guitarists Peter Bernstein and Lage Lund as well as Toronto based David Occhipinti.
David’s involvement in jazz has led to performances and collaborations with up and coming peers and established artists such as Brad Turner, Michael Blake, Seamus Blake (no relation to either of the Blakes….), Jodi Proznick, Bill Coon, Randy Porter, Dan Gaucher, Jaclyn Guillou, Steve Kaldestad, Dave Sikula, Jesse Cahill, Bruno Hubert, Meghan Gilhespy and many more. His trio has performed at jazz festivals across Canada, including a performance at the 2015 Montreal Jazz Festival, where David was nominated for best emerging artist as well as best emerging composer. As a side man, David has performed at many clubs and venues across Canada, including Upstairs, The Rex, The Cellar, The Orpheum, The Vogue Theatre and more. Notably, David’s collaboration with acclaimed vocalist and song writer Jaclyn Guillou has led to several tours which took them to remote places such as Haida Gwaii and Hawaii, and all over the western United States. David’s playing, composing and arranging can be heard on Jaclyn Guillou’s “Winter For Beginners” and Meghan Gilhespy’s “Vive le Tour” as well as his own trio albums “Next Year People” and “Sometimes I Get To Practice Flying” which feature his own compositions.
As an educator, David employs a practical approach to learning technique, improvisation and ear training. His philosophy being the faster you can put new skills into a musical context, the more fun you’ll have learning your instrument! Areas of focus generally include learning standard repertoire, learning (and implementing) jazz chord shapes and progressions, theory and improvisation techniques and much more!
As well as teaching and performing, David curates a concert series at Tangent Café in East Vancouver.