MORE ABOUT BLAKE
I was born in Denver, Colorado in 1964 and lived there until 2020, at which time I relocated to the Kansas City area.
I discovered the bass when I was in the 8th grade, and I was captivated by everything about it...the way it sounded, the way it looked and the role it played.
During a discussion about jobs with my teacher and mentor, Mrs. Marsh, I told her
I had already decided on my career. I was going to be a professional bass player!
I got my first electric bass that same year, when I was 14, and began teaching myself to read and play.
By high school I was playing dance jobs nearly every weekend with Joy Cayler's
18-piece big band Brass Beat, performing classic swing and big band repertoire.
I cut my first vinyl album with Brass Beat when I was 16. That recording experience sparked my lifelong love of making music in the studio.
During this time, I also played in my first garage band with friends from nearby Columbine High School, and I began teaching myself to play the double bass as well. Throughout my high school years, I played in the jazz bands and orchestras at both Bear Creek and Golden High Schools. I was honored to be awarded the Outstanding National High School Bassist at the1981 NAJE Wichita Jazz Festival.
I graduated in 1982.
After high school I worked for three years as a luthier and instrument repairman
at Rockley Music, a popular Denver music store. I did all manner of musical instrument repairs there. I have restrung hundreds of guitars...
I have done repairs for many notable musicians, including Willie Nelson.
Working at the music store gave me an opportunity to meet interesting people and to work with musicians from many different genres of music.
I also began teaching private bass lessons at this time. The internet did not yet
exist. There was no YouTube. I created my own charts and bass curriculum and developed teaching methods which I still use with my students today.
During these early-80's years I began getting more referrals and calls for studio recording sessions. I did a fusion album with the late Dixie Dregs' keyboardist
T Lavitz. I loved the studio environment, and it was always a real bonus if you could get the engineer to make you a cassette tape rough-mix to take home!
From 1985-1989, just a few years out of high school, I was a founding and full-time member of the popular Colorado band Wind Machine. We did a lot of recording, performing and touring. In both 1986 and 1987 Wind Machine's first two albums earned “Best Colorado Record" in the Denver Post's Music Poll, a gigantic achievement in a highly competitive market. I played on the first seven Wind Machine releases, all of which have received extensive national and worldwide radio airplay.
We toured multiple times around the US during these five years. This period was certainly an early career highlight for me.
In 1989 I was profiled in the jazz publication Downbeat magazine, and that same year I was also featured in Guitar Player magazine's 'Spotlight' column.
Mike Varney said I was "one of the best bebop soloists he had ever heard.”
High praise indeed! It made me feel a great sense of achievement to be in
Guitar Player magazine, the holy grail!
From 1990-2002 I played exclusively with Denver’s Moment's Notice Entertainment agency. These years provided a wide array of gig experiences
in the finest hotels, country clubs, resorts, fancy homes and every wedding venue in the region. There were occasional gigs in other states too, for Governor's Balls, Debutante Balls, Inaugurals, and big-budget corporate events. For well over a decade I was a full-time working bassist, singer and bandleader for this agency.
If you got married in Colorado during the 90's there's a very good chance that
I emceed your wedding! I worked alongside Denver's top talent during this time period and I learned a TON of songs. I also became skilled at setting up the PA system, running sound, and multitasking. I dealt with a lot of responsibilities doing this job...all while handling bass and vocal duties, managing the singers and sidemen and whatever other numerous gig challenges arose.
I worked very, very hard during this part of my career.
From 2002-2020 I remained active in Denver's music scene as a freelance bassist, and also a member of some of Colorado's top working bands.
Some of the bands I have played in include: Groove Nation, Next of Kin, Flipside of 40, Pan Jumbies, Axe, 6 Million Dollar Band, Perpetual Motion,
Kid Charlemagne, Hazel Miller, Blooz Dogz, Sheryl Renee', Mass Hipsteria, Bob Harris, Rumble Seat, Tsunami, The 12th Man Band (Denver Broncos Band), Electric Tigers, Emerald City, Soul X, The Neophonic Orchestra, Sure Thing, Vision, The Strays, Steve Glotzer, Rebecca Folsom Band and many others.
I have also played bass for several entertainment legends including John Denver and Bobby Vinton.
In addition to being a full-time performing bassist, my studio bass work has contributed to numerous artists’ recording projects over the past 35-plus years.
I have played on record albums, CDs, singles, television & radio ads, industry videos, jingles, and I have recorded at all the top studios in Colorado.
I’ve tracked bass for McDonald's, Nissan Corporation, Honda, Coors, RTD, Colorado Lottery, Alpha-Hydroxy, Wyoming Tourism, Hewlett-Packard, Denver Nuggets and many more throughout the years. I even recorded what became a #1 hit single in Japan with the New Orleans piano legend Dr. John! Arigato.
In 2015 I auditioned for the Premier run of the rock musical "The 12" at the
Denver Center for the Performing Arts. I got the part, and I also got to help finalize the official bass score. This show was incredibly fun for me to do, and that year
"The 12" won the coveted Henry Award for "Best New Play or Musical”.
Another major career highlight for me! Some of my proudest work.
In 2016, with help from audio-engineer friends and industry professionals,
I built my own studio to facilitate digital bass tracking and transferring.
I now record and send bass tracks, and collaborate with clients around the globe!
In 2017 I played bass for Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Richie Furray (and others) at Fiddler's Green Amphitheater for a Colorado Music Hall of Fame concert called "The Rocky Mountain Way”. This show can be viewed on the AXS channel!
Another major career highlight for sure, to play with those music superstars!
I have been teaching electric and double bass privately for over 35 years,
and I have worked with hundreds of bass students.