Vibraphonist and composer Tyler Blanton is becoming recognized as a rising star in the New York City jazz scene. Over the past five years, his work has received notice by numerous major publications including Downbeat, Jazztimes, Village Voice, and The New York Times. Blanton’s second studio album as a leader, “Gotham,” is scheduled for release in March, 2014.
A native of California, Blanton began playing guitar and drums in his early teens. Early exposure to jazz came by way of his grandfather, Joe Cavaglieri- a tenor saxophonist prominent in the big band and swing music scene surrounding Los Angeles in the 40’s and 50’s. Entering music school as a percussionist, Blanton quickly steered towards mallet percussion and ultimately jazz vibraphone as his principle musical outlet. After starting his schooling at California Institute for the Arts, Blanton finished up his undergraduate degree in music in 2006 from Sonoma State University in northern California. By the time of his graduation, Blanton had firmly established himself in the greater San Francisco Bay Area Jazz Scene. In addition to keeping a busy schedule as a sideman, he was involved in several working projects with many of his mentors and faculty members at the University, most notably guitarist Randy Vincent.
Determined to further his music, Blanton took the plunge and permanently relocated to New York City in 2007, settling in Brooklyn. Upon his arrival, he took on a strong presence as a band leader and composer, quickly connecting with many influential players in the scene and performing around town at venues such as Smalls, La Lanterna, and Cornelia St Cafe. The culmination of Blanton’s first two years in New York is reflected in his 2010 debut album, “Botanic,” which featured drummers Richie Barshay and Jared Schonig, bassists Aidan Carroll and Dan Loomis, and saxophonist Joel Frahm. Upon its release, “Botanic,” garnered considerable notice, earning reviews in Downbeat and Jazztimes magazines, as well as being chosen as a top album of the year by both Hot House and Village Voice Critic’s polls that year.
Shortly after, Blanton embarked on a new set of compositions for which he would spend the next two years writing, rehearsing, and revising. Blanton’s forthcoming release, “Gotham,” is the documentation of this new body of composition. “Gotham,” is a suite of music written specifically for Blanton’s current working quartet consisting of drummer Nate Wood, bassist Matt Clohesy, and saxophonist, Donny McCaslin, and Blanton on both vibraphone and Malletkat: a midi controller played similar to that of a vibraphone which is used to trigger samples and synthesized sounds. The 6 compositions on the album take the listener on multi-genre soundscape that draws from modern jazz, rock, electronica, and a variety other eclectic musical influences. “Gotham,” is scheduled for release on March 25, 2014.