May, 2007

Ran Blake Newsletter
News From Ran Blake HQ

May 2007

At Piano

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

August Intensive Study

celebrating Chris Connor

ConnorRan is gearing up for the annual August intensive course, which focuses this year on the vocalist Chris Connor.

Connor, one of Ran’s favorite vocalists, appears on his 1978 album Rapport. The course will explore Connor’s musical personality by listening to selected recordings spanning her career and by hearing personal anecdotes from Ran, rather than by analyzing specific musical selections. In tracing Connor’s progress from her roots with Bethlehem to her Atlantic years with Ronnie Ball to her commercial success in the ’70s with Rod McKuen to her comeback in the ’80s and ’90s, participants will gain an appreciation of the full range of this extraordinary vocal stylist.

As a preview, you can download Ran’s notes on one of Chris’ most popular and critically acclaimed albums: Chris Connor (Atlantic 1228), a.k.a. the “blue album,” here.

The course runs from August 8-16. On Tuesday evening, August 14, Ran and the class will present a special public evening at NEC featuring performances, perhaps a conference call to a special guest, and other surprises. For more information, please contact NEC Summer School Director Margaret Ulmer at sumsch@

Alla Cohen Performance

at NEC

Ran’s friend Alla Cohen, a member of NEC’s preparatory composition and music theory faculty, presents an evening of her music Tuesday, June 5, at St. Botolph Hall. This will be a performance of her chamber compositions, and participants will include Sebastian Baverstam (cello), Elden Kelly (guitar), and Andrew Fenlon (trombone). The performance, which begins at 8 p.m. is free. Also, Alla’s new book, Perfect Pitch for You, is now available from Len Rhodes Music.


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Upcoming Appearances in NYC

Lincoln Center panel + a gig

bagRan performs solo at the Center for Improvisational Music in Brooklyn this Thursday (May 17), at 8 p.m. The concert is titled “Noir,” and includes a medley of songs inspired by Ran’s experiences at the Lenox School of Jazz, as well as several songs from Ran’s “Cat People” program at NEC last year.

Tickets are $15 ($10 for students). The center is at 295 Douglass Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenue. Visit the website for detailed directions.

The Brooklyn show was added onto Ran’s appearance as part of a panel on jazz and film at Lincoln Center in New York City this Wednesday (May 16). Rutgers Professor Lewis Porter will lead the panel, which includes Ran, the trombonist/composer Wycliffe Gordon, and the video artist Andrew Demirjian. Ran plans to focus on the French director Claude Chabrol. The evening will include performances by the participants.

The panel, which starts at 7 p.m., takes place in the Irene Diamond Education Center. Tickets are $17.50, and they can be purchased at the box office (Broadway and 60th Street) Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or ordered online through (for an additional $7.50 in service charges).

The Music of Landscape

July panel discussion in Brookline

brooklineOn Sunday, July 8, Ran will participate in a roundtable discussion titled From Beethoven to Ballads: Music of Landscape at Brookline High School.

The event is co-sponsored by Brookline Adult and Community Education and the National Park Service/Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

The program will explore the interrelationship of landscape and music across a range of musical genres and cultures. Specifically, topics will include landscape as a source of creative inspiration for musical composition, the added dimension to performance from performing music outdoors in a natural or naturalistic landscape, and music as a medium for educating the public about the environment and promoting a deeper connection between the public and the environment.

Boston Globe music writer Scott Alarik will serve as moderator, and the other participants are Charles Ansbacher (conductor of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra), Mark Erelli (singer songwriter), and Aine Minogue (Celtic harpist).

The two-hour discussion begins at 7 p.m. The high school is at 115 Greenough Street. Tickets are $10, with registration through Brookline Adult & Community Education, 617-730-2700, or

We’ll see you in June.

Vol. 3, No.5