October, 2006

Ran Blake Newsletter
News From Ran Blake HQ

October 2006

At Piano


Welcome to the special feline edition of Ran’s monthly newsletter.

Jazziz Magazine Profiles Ran

on newsstands now

The October issue of Jazziz magazine includes a two-page feature on Ran. Titled “True Original,” Alexander Gelfand’s article focuses on Ran’s musical style and his role as an educator.

“For nearly 50 years, the 71-year-old musician has sounded like no one but himself,” Gelfand writes. “And as a teacher for more than 40 years, he also helped other musicians find their own singular voices.”

Later, noting Ran’s penchant for tastefully combining different genres, Gelfand includes this quote from Ran: “Occasionally, divisions are important. A hot-fudge sundae does not go well with Florentine pasta. there have to be a few barriers.”

The story is not available on line, but you can pick up a copy at newsstands and bookstores that carry music magazines. It’s the issue with Bill Clinton on the cover.

Finding Ran’s Albums

gris We occasionally get emails asking where you can buy certain albums by Ran. Since Ran has recorded for many labels, some of which no longer exist, the albums’ availability breaks into several categories.

First off, 14 albums are available on CD through ranblake.com: All That Is Tied, Duke Dreams, Epistrophy, Horace is Blue, Improvisations Indian Winter, Painted Rhythms: Vol. 1, Painted Rhythms: Vol. 2, Round About, Short Life of Barbara Monk, Something to Live For, Sonic Temples, Suffield Gothic, and Unmarked Van.

Next, these five are available from other labels or distributors: Breakthru from ImprovArt, Masters of Different Worlds from Mapleshade, You Stepped Out of a Cloud from Universal or Amazon, Wende from Universal, and Newest Sound Around from Amazon or Half.com

Three CDs are out of print and hard to find: A Memory of Vienna Duo En Noir, and That Certain Feeling. Your best bet is to check eBay and used record stores with large jazz collections. When you do find these albums, they’re often expensive.

A number of Ran’s albums are only available on vinyl. We have a few copies of five titles -– Portfolio of Doctor Mabuse, Rapport, Realization of a Dream, Third Stream Recompositions, and Third Stream: 2nd Chapter.

We’re sold out of nine other vinyl albums: Blue Potato, Film Noir, Crystal Trip, Open City, Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano, Third Stream Today, Take 1, Take 2, and Vertigo. Again, your best bet is eBay and used record stores.

Happy hunting.

Duet Disc From Dominique Eade

Northeast tour in November

OpenRan’s good friend and frequent live collaborator Dominique Eade in October released Open, an album of duets with pianist Jed Wilson. Dominique is a vocalist and composer who teaches in the Contemporary Improvisation department at NEC.

The album, on the Project Jazz label, is available from CDBaby. It features six Eade originals, plus Leonard Cohen’s “In My Secret Life” and standards associated with Helen Humes, Blossom Dearie and Nat Cole.

Dominique and Jed are performing four shows in the Northeast:
11/14, Regattabar, Cambridge, MA
11/16, Woodstock Town Hall Theatre, VT
11/17, Firehouse 12, New Haven, CT
11/19, Smoke, New York City

Newsletter Archive

catch up on what you missed

Previous issues of Ran’s monthly newsletter are now archived on the
Biography page of Ran’s website.

Cat People Draws Near

October 30 at Jordan Hall

spookRan has spent most of his waking moments for the past month preparing for Cat People, the fall student performance at the New England Conservatory on October 30. Ran is referring to it as the “biggest production of my life.” He very much hopes his friends in the Boston area will attend what is sure to be an exciting and thought-provoking show.

The evening will include performances of music from Jacques Tourneur’s famous 1942 film of that title, as well as film clips from Val Lawton’s Leopard Man and I Walked with a Zombie.

Here’s a preview, in Ran’s words:

“Performers play simultaneously to a carefully selected and edited film repertoire. The images of these films inform the music emotionally, as well as create a linear, storyboard-like structure for their organization. The material for the improvisations mostly comes from short melodic themes widely known by the students so that they may interact, and so that an audible thread may trail through the concert. These themes range from old standards to a tone row by Shostakovich. Overall the performers will be balancing tremendous musical freedom with the oppression and imprisonment of evil — cats in and out of their cages.

“A challenge, and hopefully a delightful one, will be for you, the audience, to discern the plot of two stories told together. One expressed by the relationship between the performer and the film images, which journeys from a zoo in Central Park, New York City, to the tropics via New Mexico. And the second story expressed by the subtle undercurrent of motives passed and recomposed amongst performers.”

Performers will include Eleni Odoni, Dave Fiuczynski, Hankus Netsky, Jameson Swanegon, Anthony Coleman, Dominique Eade, Alla Cohen, Ashley Paul, Giacomo Merega, Leo McFadden, Dorothy Clark, and many others.

The 8 p.m. concert, at Jordan Hall, is free.

Dining Before and After the Show

TazAspiring food critic Ran Blake offers these culinary suggestions before and after Cat People:

“The subject of cats can increase one’s appetite. Particularly for salads…

“Moti is a concierge at the fabulous Moby Dick on Huntington Avenue across from Jordan Hall, where she serves marvelous Iranian rice dishes and a special Shirazi Salad. You might call 617-236-5511 and make a pre-Cat People supper reservation.

“Post-concert, Brookline has many wonderful restaurants, such as Rani, managed by Samir. I also want to mention two other marvelous restaurants that usually close at 10 but might be persuaded to stay open for one of the delicious salads and a bottle of wine. One is Khao Sarn, designed by co-owner Yoshi, at 250 Harvard Street (617-566-7200). Notice the shape of the bar. Noon, a superb cocktail maker-pharmacologist, is inventor of fabulous fruit drinks with a kick. And the associate manager Oh may be able to provide you with chicken larb or mango salads and other delicacies.

“In Washington Square, Gina runs Dalia’s, at 1657 Beacon Street (617-730-8040). Her special creation is the Dalia’s salad. There are cheese plates there and terrific wines. Her restaurant often closes on the early side but one can call her to see if the dining room and the wine bar might be open. Notice the mirrors and the atmosphere.

“The administration of New England Conservatory has asked that the concert end by 10. Patrons wanting to try these restaurants might want to plan a 10:30 arrival with a quick snack and an 11:15 departure so that the culinary cast of these restaurants can get some much-needed sleep, not dreaming, of course, of cats.”

Cat credits: Spook (top right, Ellen Pfeifer), Taz (bottom right, Karen Shepard), and Gris-Gris (left, Chris Veilleux).

See you next month.
–Steve