March, 2013

March 2013

cobidinner

Welcome to the March issue of Ran’s monthly newsletter. Above, Ran enjoys a dinner in New York City with David “Knife Fabris,” Susan Law, Aaron Hartley, and Cobi Narita.

Ran’s Reflections
Dexter

dutraExcerpts from an e-mail to a friend whose Persian cat Dexter is a frequent guest at Ran’s place.

Last night Dexter jumped on my bed five times for the massage. First he patrols and surveys as he goes from my knees to toes. I prefer it when I’m lying on my stomach. Then he does deep jabs of punctuation and then there is a grueling minute where his claws dig into my skin.

But he’s a mammal of deep compassion. He’ll then finish by sitting on my leg (much better than a heating pad). He then does a deep tissue rub, meows, and runs away only to return 10 minutes later for a final pat. I find it to be like a very real schizophrenia.

During the massage one cannot speak or interrupt him. It does wake me but it’s definitely worth it because my foot pain is now feeling better.

40th Anniversary
“a fitting end”

necRan performed March 23 at Symphony Space in New York City as part of NEC’s celebration of 40 years of its contemporary improvisation program. An excerpt from a review on the Lucid Culture blog follows:

“The concert’s concluding number was ‘Memphis,’ a somber Martin Luther King elegy on which Blake intermingled gospel allusions and otherworldly close harmonies, both foreshadowed and then cruelly cut short by a gunshot staccato. It was the essence of noir, both a celebration of life and a grim reminder of everything that threatens what we hold dear. It made a fitting ending for an often exhilaratingly eclectic, emotionally vivid bill featuring NEC alumni and their bandmates from across the generations.”

Read the full review here.

Upcoming Events
two at NEC

bagMarch 30 — Ran will be a guest performer at Sarah Jarosz‘ Bachelor of Music recital at the New England Conservatory. Sarah is a singer and multi-instrumentalist whose music has elements of folk, rock, country and old time music. The 8 p.m. event at Brown Hall is free. Read more about it here.

April 9 — Ran will perform at a concert at NEC organized by Anthony Coleman titled “Monk/Webern.” Read more about it here.

Scullers Review
“cinema for the ear”

Ran’s February 27 show with vocalist Dominique Eade at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston went well. An excerpt from Phoenix critic Jon Garelick’s review follows:

“At times, as in R.B. Lynch’s ‘Love Lament,’ Blake’s left hand explored the lower register with chords that were like direct expressions of the subconscious, blurred and shadowy but also comforting, as his right hand sang an untroubled melody line. This was Blake’s music at its most cinematic, some vision from his mind’s eye.

“For her part, Eade was just as evocative, whether paying tribute to Thelonious Monk, Skip James, and Jimmy Rogers with a rhythmic scat and an inventive Monk lyric or accompanying herself with the drone of an electric tuner, like a dulcimer, on her ‘Chasing the Setting Sun,’ where the melisma on the word ‘roam’ leapt up and down restlessly before settling on the deep, reassuring tonic of ‘home.’ Every word had color and meaning, and so did the notes in between. Eade and Blake together were creating cinema for the ear.”

Read the full review here.

Private Lessons

Ran is again available for private lessons. Potential areas of focus include long-term melodic and harmonic memory, repertoire development, and sequencing a performance. For details, contact Ran directly at ran@ranblake.com.

Thanks for reading. We’ll see you in April.
–Steve

Vol. 9, No. 3