January, 2007

Ran Blake Newsletter
News From Ran Blake HQ

January 2007

At Piano


Welcome to the January issue of Ran’s monthly newsletter.

End of the Year Honors for ‘Tied’

critical acclaim continues

tiedAll That Is Tied, Ran’s album of solo piano released last spring on Tompkins Square Records, received numerous end of the year honors, earning a rave review in the Penguin Guide to Jazz Records and appearing on many critics’ Best of 2006 lists.

The newly published 8th edition of the Penguin Guide, edited by Richard Cook and Brian Morton, awards the album a crown, which denotes records the editors “feel a special admiration or affection for.” The album also gets four stars, the highest rating.

“It is a quiet masterpiece, marked by the same almost mystical approach to harmony and melody that has marked recent projects,” the book’s review says. “A magnificient record from a neglected master.”

In addition, the editors include The Short Life of Barbara Monk, from 1986, as an album that belongs in the core collection of every jazz fan. Only about 200 albums received this honor. All told, a dozen of Ran’s albums receive three or four stars.

The 1,500-page Penguin Guide, which reviews 14,000 CDs, is available at bookstores and from Amazon.

Other publications honoring All That Is Tied:
Downbeat, included in “Best of 2006″ list
Village Voice, included in John Szwed’s “Top 10 of 2006″ list
Wire Magazine, included in “50 Records of the Year” list
Metro Times (of Detroit), #2 on W. Kim Heron’s “Top 10 of 2006″ list
Cadence Magazine, #4 in Reader’s Poll of “Best New Issues of 2006″ and included in four critics’ Best of 2006 lists
Jazz Review, #8 on “CDs of the Year” list and included in three critics’ Top Ten lists

Upcoming Performances

further details for 2007

Ran is playing at the Northampton (Massachusetts) Center for the Arts on Friday, February 16 as part of a solo piano series. Ran plans to debut several new songs at this show.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($12 and $8 for students and seniors) are available at the arts center, AJ Hastings in Amherst, and State Street Fruit Market in Northampton. Tickets will also be available at the door. The other pianists in the series are Matthew Shipp (Feb. 2) and Cooper-Moore (Feb. 9).

Ran will also be performing March 25 as part of the Brookline Library’s 150th Anniversary. The celebration centers on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Thoughts on Ahmet Ertegun

memories from 1959

ertegun Ran’s reflections on the life of Ahmet Ertegun, who died in December 14, are here. Ertugun helped found Atlantic Records, where Ran worked in 1959.

Expanded ‘Tied’ By Download

coming in February

More All That Is Tied news — an enhanced version of the album will be available by digital download beginning Feb. 1.

Ran’s label, Tompkins Square, reports that “The Complete All That Is Tied Sessions” can be downloaded from emusic.com, a website that offers various downloading packages via monthly subscription. The eMusic version includes 25 songs recorded during the original album sessions: the original 12, alternate takes of five songs (some radically different), plus eight songs not on the album (Arline, Spiral Staircase, Indian Winter, Sister Tee, Straight Ahead, Turning Point, Touch of Evil and Vanguard).

We’ll see you in February.
–Steve

Vol. 3, No. 1