May, 2008

Ran Blake Newsletter
News From Ran Blake HQ

May 2008



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

Don’t Miss Hitchcock

upcoming NEC course

hitchcockTime is running short to sign up for Ran’s June course at the New England Conservatory, Film Noir: Alfred Hitchcock, The Director and his Music.

The two-credit course, which runs from June 12-22, will explore the wide range of music used in Hitchcock’s films, from Poulenc to circus rags to the semi-atonal to English pop. Students will be encouraged to participate by composing and improvising on the plots, themes and characters in the great director’s works.

The full schedule and cost info is available here.

* * *

A bit further down the road is Ran’s annual summer course — The Musical Worlds of Gunther Schuller: Scratching the Surface of a Compleat Musician. Ran, Gunther, and Fred Harris, director of wind and jazz ensembles at MIT, will all lead portions of the course, which runs from July 28 to August 7. The class meets at Ran’s Brookline apartment, except for Tuesday, August 5, which is a special public evening at NEC with interviews and performances. Full course information is available here.

For more information on either course, please contact NEC’s Margaret Ulmer at (617) 585-1135 or

Help Wanted

helpSeveral of Ran’s assistants are moving away soon, so Ran is looking for a new assistant or two to help him on various projects at his Brookline residence. The most important skill is proficiency with computers (ideally the Mac). Fast typing, good spelling, and general problem-solving and organizational skills are also important.

This is a paying position. Hours are somewhat flexible and might range from 4 to 15 a week. Some weekend work is required. If you’d like a more complete job description, please email Ran at

Concert Available for Download

2006 Paris performance

sansbruitRan’s July 2006 performance at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris is now available for download from Sans Bruit, a new company that offers live jazz recordings on-line. Sans Bruit is the brainchild of Stephane Oskeritzian, a concert promoter and longtime friend of Ran’s.

Ran’s July 7 concert closed a four-day jazz festival. He performed an eight-part suite titled “Cinema Chatelet” that he described it as a soundtrack to an imaginary film directed by his heroes of cinema. The track list follows:

Part I: Noir (4:10)
Part II: All that is tied (2:08)
Part III: Shostakovich 13 (1:48)
Part IV: The Monk family (1:02)
Part V: New York (6:44)
Part VI: Paris (4:30)
Part VII: Memphis (2:36)
Part VIII: Desafinado 3:06
Encore (6:42)

The download is in the MP3 format and costs 5 euros (about $7.75). You can also download free artwork from the website.


Two May Performances
a tribute and a party

Ran performed at two Boston-area events in May. On May 10, he was among dozens of musicians who came together at MIT to pay tribute to Herb Pomeroy, a renowned trumpeter and educator who died last August. Ran performed Irving Berlin’s “What’ll I Do.” Attendees at the packed event also were treated to an unreleased 2005 recording of a duet of Ran and Herb’s interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “In My Solitude.”

Ran also played on May 3 at the Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill at a birthday party in honor of Paul Hans, a Newton psychiatrist who turned 70. Ran performed a birthday suite inspired by Dr. Hans’ life and work that included “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “You Got to My Head,” “Begin the Beguine” and “Happy Birthday.”


Thanks for reading. You can reach Ran directly at, and you can read back issues here.

We’ll see you in June.
Vol. 4, No.5