Whirlpool, 2011

Reviews for Ran Blake & Dominique Eade’s Whirlpool
Released in 2011 on Jazz Project

“The duo perform pop standards like “My Foolish Heart”, “After the Ball” and “Old Devil Moon” in a style that would be unrecognizable to the original songwriters. Eade’s voice hauntingly floats over Blake’s fingering of the keys one minute, and then takes off in another direction the next. It’s difficult to keep pace with the musicians as they seem to be on two different planes, but it’s clear they communicate with each other. Although just released, the tracks here were originally recorded in 2004 and 2008. While pristine collections of the great American songbook have become the contemporary equivalent of sonic wallpaper, no one will confuse this disc for that bland stuff. This music defies being coffee house background jazz and demands attention.”

-Steve Horowitz, Pop Matters

 

“Pianist Ran Blake’s discography includes some remarkable duet recordings with vocalists, ranging from 1961 with Jeanne Lee, to 2006 and again in 2010 with Christine Correa. However, the newly released Whirlpool (from sessions in 2004 and 2008), featuring Dominique Eade, may be the best yet.”

-Scott Albin, Jazz Times

 

Simpatico relationships between vocalists and pianists—Shearing and Cole; Evans and Bennett; Bill Charlap and his mother, Sandy Stewart—are hardly unusual. Occasionally, though, such unions transcend sympathetic rapport and become truly empathetic. The finest example on record emerged in 1961, when trailblazing third-stream pianist Ran Blake and singer Jeanne Lee commingled on The Newest Sound Around. Now, a half-century later, Blake achieves very near the same magnificence with Dominique Eade. Actually, these 13 tracks were recorded a while ago, in sessions dating from 2004 and 2008. In fact, this album has been 30 years in the making, demonstrating the continual evolution of their shared sensibility from their first meeting, when Eade transferred to the New England Conservatory expressly for the opportunity to study with Blake (she has long since joined him on the faculty).

-Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times

 

“There is nothing like the right time, the right place, and the right vibe, to ensure a musical success. Add to these circumstances, composer/improviser Dominique Eade’s arctic-clear voice with a chilling celestial range, pianist Ran Blake, whose career has spanned a half century…and the result is: “Whirlpool,” a date that was thirty years in waiting, at least that’s how far back, a young Dominique Eade entered the New England Conservatory and first heard Blake play. The implementation of this project at last, infers a very clear, focused mission, ensuring a triumphant performance that is refreshingly original, extraordinarily imaginative, brimming with ineffable confidence, shows a boldness that knows no limit, and seems to deliver itself from a source of happiness dispossessed of any particular reason.”

-C.J. Bond, -JazMuzic.com

 

“Whirlpool features familiar tunes like “Old Devil Moon” and “My Foolish Heart,” as well as insider jazz numbers like Quincy Jones’ theme from The Pawnbroker and Russ Freeman’s “The Wind.” But Blake and Eade treat them like classical art songs as much as popular standards. With her clear and radiant but forcefully grounded voice, Eade investigates the songs like a diamond cutter, taking time to highlight their unique harmonic facets while never losing sight of their emotional meaning. Blake’s spare, elegant backing illuminates her in a wintry light, with occasional dissonant shivers… If you haven’t heard his exquisite recent efforts for the Tompkins Square label, you should, if only to hear the only artist who may be equally at home with Hank Williams and Charles Ives.”

-Lloyd Sachs, Jazz Press

 

“I think that the Blake/Eade date (Whirlpool, Jazz Project, 2011) will stand as a landmark in both artists’ discographies.”

-Steve Elman, The Art Fuse

 

Ran Blake and Dominique Eade’s new album Whirlpool couldn’t have come out at a more appropriate time. It’s the perfect autumn record: its dark clarity is absolutely chilling, and absolutely exhilarating. It makes you glad to be alive. Eade has never sung better; at 76, Blake’s at the top of his game, absolutely undiminished, the indomitable master of noir piano menace and magic.”

-Lucid Culture


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