Described as a musician with “wit, soul and an organic-sounding complexity that only a master can pull off” (Giovanni Russonello; CapitalBop, New York Times), Blake Meister has performed around the world. He has joined a range of virtuoso musicians, including:
Gary Thomas, Larry Willis, Katharine McPhee, Mýa, Marc Copland, David Kikoski, Gary Bartz, Steve Davis, Warren Wolf, Ahn Sook Sun, Buddy Wachter, Paul Bollenback, Eddie Henderson, Ingrid Jensen, Jeremy Pelt, Sean Jones, Jack DeJohnette, Louis Hayes, Victor Lewis, Ralph Peterson, Dennis Chambers, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Nasheet Waits, among others.
Touring and recording with Larry Willis, in his Heavy Blue band, Blake developed in the modern jazz tradition. He appears on Willis’ final outing, I Fall in Love Too Easily, on HighNote records. Blake honed his style and musical dialect working regularly with Gary Thomas, including Thomas’ large ensemble, Pariah’s Pariahs. He appears on Thomas’ album At Risk, on Inner Circle Music, for which he also wrote the liner notes.
Also on Inner Circle, Blake released his debut as a leader, Septagon, to critical acclaim. Both CapitalBop and the Washington City Paper named it Album of the Year. He is a regular member of the Baltimore Jazz Collective, with trumpeter Sean Jones. The group was recently profiled in JazzTimes magazine. In 2016, he recorded for a PBS feature on immersive sound. He is a bassist for the American Studio Orchestra (a multi-media ensemble) and has been a member of several traditional orchestras.
Blake was a finalist in the Bass Europe competition and in the International Society of Bassists competition. He received Governor’s Citations from Maryland, garnering three Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council – for composition in 2018 and 2012, and for performance in 2015.
Sharing music through education, Meister served on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music – the nation’s oldest conservatory – for a decade, teaching lessons and courses. Before that, he began on faculty and as program director for the Peabody Preparatory division. There, he founded a robust, productive jazz department. Today, he is building community through teaching, as classical bass faculty at Northern Virginia Community College and a Strings Teaching Artist for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Orchkids.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Meister began on the electric bass, entering college with virtually no experience on the double bass. Part of the first full class to matriculate to the jazz department at Peabody, he received multiple awards in performance. Progressing quickly, he went on to earn a master’s degree in orchestral studies at Catholic University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, on a full-tuition scholarship.