Yet he (Dr. Randy Weston) was continually in the moment, particularly when dialoguing with or comping for Blue, whose kinetic improvisations evoked a refracted blend of Bird, Cannonball, Benny Carter and Jackie McLean.
– Review by Ted Panken for Downbeat November 2016
If you’re saxophonist T.K. Blue, you turn to the soft(er) and the subtle, delivering an album that’s texturally rich yet wholly transparent. Blue’s brand of music is honest, sincere, graceful and direct; that same adjective set, not surprisingly, also applies to the man himself. Blue isn’t about posturing or pushing the envelope to earn a progressive tag. He’s about the music and the feeling it creates, both in the artist and the listener. Blue’s skills as an arranger, perhaps more than anything else, are responsible for the success of this project, as he’s able to create beauty from simplicity at times. A Warm Embrace is simply a beautiful work of art; it’s exactly what it claims to be and need not be anything more.
Review by Dan Bilawsky for All About Jazz
T.K. Blue is a musician of the highest caliber who is at the peak of his creative output. He continues to mentor budding musicians at every level from pre-K to graduate.
program for Carnegie Hall Saturday March 19, 2016
All of the musicians were splendid, but I have to salute T.K. Blue and the bassist extraordinaire Alex Blake. These guys are more than good at what they do on their instrument.
By Hakim Abdul-Ali, Charleston Chronicle, for a Spoleto Festival concert review. June 11, 2016
In this song and others, T.K. Blue plays a mean flute—strong and masculine in a way I never heard one played before.
By Celeste McMaster, Charleston City Paper, for a Spoleto Festival concert review. June 4, 2016
“The core group expertly supports guest vocalist Alana Adderley during the bossa-to-swing-to-bossa “When Sunny Gets Blue,” provides some pep on “Tides Of Romance,” and comes off clean-and-polished on the title track.”
Review by Dan Bilawsky for All About Jazz
“Talib Kibwe…..I didn’t know his work until this album, and his instrumental voice is so personal, clear, and incisive that I kept playing back his solos for the sheer pleasure of such fresh sounds of surprise. If I were still producing jazz records, I would call Kibwe as soon as I got his number.”
—from Nat Hentoff’s liner notes for Benny Powell’s “Why Don’t You Say Yes, Sometimes” recording.
“Blue’s voice on alto is highly distinctive. Whether on his main horn, soprano, or flute, he inflects everything he plays with ebullience”
James Hale / Downbeat
“..a Caribbean spirit can be detected in the choice of instruments….in the lilting dance rhythms and in the joyful shouts of Blue’s themes and solos…”
Geoffrey Himes, The Washington Post
“Blue Bird” on the new album sounds as if it was recorded by the seashore at sunset, shifting effortlessly from undulations buoyed by bass and lovely percussion colorations, to darting fragments that echo Parker’s original solo, to deep bluesy swing. There is a strong center of clam; though the arrangements here are innovative, there’s no sense of showing off.
Michael Jackson for Downbeat June 2011
“What’s refreshing about Latin Bird, however, is that the tunes stand by themselves; Blue brings something new to old music and is not simply a Bird clone. These are Parker melodies, but Blue has deconstructed the tunes and pasted them back together in a format all his own.”
Jon Ross for Downbeat May 2011… 3 and ½ stars
“Latin Bird has a lot going for it. The musicians are great; the choice of material is first-rate; and the arranging adds enough originality to the mix to keep it all very interesting.”
Gregg Simmons for All About Jazz April 2011
“Here’s a Latin jazz record with an abundance of sizzle and invention”
Nick Bewsey for Icon…4 stars
“Latin Bird is one of the best kind of “tributes”-inspired and doesn’t smother its subject with pious “veneration”. Blue and company actually something constructive, passionate, and fun with their inspiration and influences.”
Mark Keresman for Jazz Inside April 2011
“As in his work with Weston, Blue’s music here has a strong sense of spirituality and respect for the musical forefathers. But nothing in this energetic tribute to Charlie Parker sounds hackneyed or dated, proving yet again that Bird and his music remains a bottomless resource and inspiration for all jazz descendants”
Joel Roberts for The New York City Jazz Record April 2011
“Alto saxophonist T.K. Blue puts out one sweet bebop CD…and is definitely a guy you want on the bandstand”
Karl Stark for the Philadelphia Inquirer April 2011
“Blue’s an engaging saxophonist, who’s at his best spinning melodic ruminations…”
Curtis Kirk Silsbee –December 2008 issue of Downbeat Magazine
“T.K.Blue took me to school twice today: The first was a musical ‘schooling’ which was not unexpected. Mr Blue (aka Talib Kibwe) is another of the legion of outstanding jazz players working today that remain unfamiliar to the general populace…I enjoyed his cool, reedy tone and the creativity of his solos.”
Curtis Davenport –Jazz Improv Magazine NYC
“Tribute To The Masters gets off to a bright start with Charlie Parker’s ‘Yardbird Suite’. T.K.Blue sparkles in his rendering of the melody for the first chorus…T.K.Blue steps to the plate with another impressive solo.”
Clive Griffin–Jazz Improv Magazine NYC
“Much like David Murray’s magnificent 2007 release Sacred Ground, Follow The North Star takes a very dark chapter in American history and recounts it with astounding beauty and grace…There are hints of both Pharoah Sanders and Yusef Lateef in Blue’s saxophone, flute, and kalimba work, and as always his deep-rooted love of African jazz shines through.”
Jessica Sendra–Jazz Times Magazine
“T.K.Blue, a Trinidadian native, has played saxophone with two of the best Afrocentric jazz musicians: the South African-born Abdullah Ibrahim and the Brooklyn-born former Moroccan resident Randy Weston. Blue( aka Talib Kibwe) applies those experiences to his new album, ‘Follow The North Star’, one of this decade’s best African-leaning jazz projects….Blue doesn’t employ any text in this all-instrumental suite, but his alto and soprano saxophones become Northup’s eloquent voice.”
Geoffrey Himes–The Washington Post
Eyes of The Elders by saxophonist T.K. Blue is an accessible and charming album made all the more inviting by Blue’s instrumental prowess. His saxophone talks in warm tones that speak of an intense love of the art of improvisation, not forcing listeners to pay attention but rather beckoning them with subtle tenderness.
Steve Graybow, Billboard
Playing soprano sax early on, T.K. Blue avoided the strident tones associated with the instrument and improvised fluidly over Robinson’s rumbling syncopation. His tone grew warmer and more soulful….”
Mike Joyce..Washington Post
Saxophone virtuoso Talib Kibwe, celebrating his album release Another Blue delivered a joyous set at Blues Alley that demonstrated not only his proficiency on various woodwinds, but also his stylistic versatility.
John Murph, The Washington Post
Having been influenced both personally and historically by jazz’s elders, saxophonist Talib Kibwe shows a good deal of sagacity himself in bringing fresh perspectives to music steeped in tradition.
Steve Jones, USA Today
A grand tradition exemplified by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine comes to mind when hearing the highly recommendable Eyes Of The Elders by Talib Kibwe.
Yoshi Kato, Schwann Inside
Review of a new CD by Kevin Cook:
“He has surrounded himself with a solid group of sidemen..Talib Kibwe, who under his own name and the moniker TK Blue has carved out a name for himself on his solo projects, as well as those with Randy Weston and Abdullah Ibrahim….Kibwe is the true star of this disc. His work on alto and especially flute, is never less than interesting and at times, it is absolutely captivating, in the most subtle way imaginable. Kibwe is not going to knock you over with the force of his lines, but you will stop, as I did, somewhere in the middle of one of his solos and say, “You know something, this cat is really good!”
Jazz Improv Vol 2 number 7 Spring 2007