November, 2013

Welcome to the November issue of Ran’s newsletter.

Concert Honoring John Harbison 

Ran will be among the many musicians performing in a concert in honor of composer and MIT Institute Professor John Harbison’s 75th birthday Sunday, December 8 at 7 p.m. at Kresge Auditorium in Cambridge. The program includes Harbison’s Cortège for percussion ensemble, some of his jazz songs, Bach Cantata BWV 118, and performances by MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble and MIT’s faculty jazz quintet, Strength in Numbers (which includes Harbison on piano). Read more about the show here.

Ran at the Regattabar: Revisiting Solo Piano
Big gig alert: Ran plays the Regattabar in Boston on Wednesday, February 5 at 7:30 p.m. To commemorate the recent reissue of Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano on CD, Ran will play the 1965 album from start to finish. For more information and to reserve a ticket, visit the Regattabar’s website.

Can You Teach the Art of Listening? A Portrait of Ran Last year, author and designer Clare McFadden wrote a paper on Ran for a class in the Harvard Graduate School of Education taught by Professor Sara Lawrence Lightfoot. Titled “Can you teach the art of listening? Ran Blake and long term melodic memory,” the paper offers an engaging look at Ran’s life, music, and teaching methods. If you would like to read it, contact Clare at and she’ll e-mail you a copy.

Review for Solo Piano
Critic Ken Micallef gave the reissue of Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano a glowing review on An excerpt follows:
“…there’s nothing quite comparable to the work of pianist Ran Blake. He’s a  singular talent. His ESP-Disk solo debut still wows not only as a jazz recording, but as a statement of artistic conviction, beauty, and talent. Blake’s influences only appear as fragments (Monk) or stylistic devices (stride); it’s his beautiful mind at work on Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano.”
You can read the full review here and pick up a copy from
To learn more about studying at NEC’s Contemporary Improvisation department, please visit its website or contact Department Chairperson Hankus Netsky. Ran’s book, The Primacy of the Ear, is available from for reading. We’ll see you in late December.
Vol. 9, No. 11