December, 2011

Ran Blake Newsletter
News From Ran Blake HQ

December 2011



Welcome to the December issue of Ran’s monthly newsletter. At left is the cover of Ran’s latest release, Vilnius Noir. See the story below for more details.

Reviews, Reviews

Ran’s book, CDs, etc.

Ran’s recent works received a number of favorable reviews this month.

In the Ottawa Citizen, Peter Hum included The Primacy of the Ear in an article titled “Three Gift Ideas for Jazz Bookworms.” He called the book “a lucid, compelling read for students of jazz esthetics and practice” and said the book “fascinates with its considerations of how musicians develop their own voice and the questions of style.” You can read the full article here.

Ran’s most recent CD, Whirlpool, a duet with vocalist Dominique Eade, received two more positive reviews this month. Excerpts follow:

JazzTimes, Christopher Loudon: “When Blake indulges his penchant for film-noir atmospherics, as on “My Foolish Heart,” Eade provides ideally sly and shadowy responses, expertly playing the cunning Bacall to his Bogart. When she reinvestigates her own, hymnlike “Go Gently to the Water,” Blake paves the way for a freshly ethereal reading. Full review.

Jazz Society of Oregon website, George Fendel: “There are very few singers who could pull this off without sounding pretentious and over the top. But Eade indulges in neither. Instead, she perfectly puts forth these new creations as though she means every word. And Blake is right there ‘conversing’ with her in nearly surreal alignment.” Full review.

Another CD, Grey December, a live album released by Tompkins Square, was reviewed on the Italian version of AllAboutJazz by Stefano Merighi. The review is here.

And finally, a few other recent articles feature or mention Ran. The Boston Globe highlighted Ran’s contributions to two recent concerts at the New England Conservatory. Here’s the paper’s preview of Ran’s annual Halloween concert, and here’s a review of the November 29 tribute to composer Gustav Mahler. And last July, the French magazine Bibliotheque(s) included a lengthy feature on Ran by P.L. Renou titled “Un Homme En Noir.” The story is in French and it’s not available on line. If you’d like to translate it for Ran’s benefit, please contact him at

Meeting of the Minds

jimmy Ran with Jimmy Nguyen, an extraordinary 15-year-old Boston musician who was recently profiled by the Boston Globe. Photo: Ruth Mercado-Zizzo.

Record Release

Vilnius Noir

blackbagNoBusiness Records, based in Vilnius, Lithuania, has released Vilnius Noir, a vinyl-only album of Ran’s performance on December 10, 2010 at St. Catherine’s Church.

The album, a limited edition of 500 copies, features these songs:

Side A
Vilna (Alexander Olshansky) > Turning Point (Joel Yennior)
Cry Wolf (Ran Blake)
In Pursuit (Jason Yeager)
Shlof Mayn Kind (traditional)
Jack’s Blues > Stratusphunk (George Russell)

Side B
Driftwood (Peter Udell, Tommy Goodman)
Sontagism (Ran Blake)
Watch What Happens (Michel Legrand) > Papirosn (Herman Yablokoff, Abraham Ellstein)
Thursday (Ran Blake)
Desafinado (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
My Cherie Amour (Stevie Wonder)
Mood Indigo (Duke Ellington, Barney Bigard, Irving Mills)

Ran performs some songs solo and some accompanied by David “Knife” Fabris on guitar.

You can sample two songs and order the album here. We may have a limited number for sale on in a month or two, but for now it’s only available from the record company.

Ran and Eileen

eileenRan enjoys a visit from longtime friend Eileen Murphy-Peters. Photo: Eric Peters.

Upcoming Festival Gig

April 30 in Kalamazoo

logo Ran will perform a tribute to Abbey Lincoln on April 30 in Kalamazoo, Michigan — her hometown — as part of the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival.

The festival runs from April 26 to May 13, and tickets go on sale in January. Read more about the festival here.

New Year’s Greeting

Ran and I would like to wish everyone a happy New Year and a grand 2012. Thanks for reading and for your continued support for Ran’s musical endeavors. We’ll see you in January.


Vol. 7, No. 12

You can read back issues here.