October, 2013

Welcome to the October issue of Ran’s newsletter.

ESP Reissues Solo Piano

Here’s some exciting news for fans of Ran’s early work: The long out of print Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano has been reissued by the ESP, the label that first released the album in 1965.

The album includes four original compositions (“Vanguard,” “Eric,” “Sister Tee,” and “Birmingham, U.S.A.”), interpretations of George Russell’s “Stratusphunk” and Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman”), and several pop and jazz standards (“Sleepy Time Gal,” “On Green Dolphin Street,” “There’ll be Some Changes Made,” and “Good Mornin’ Heartache”). Ran says he was the fourth person to record “Lonely Woman,” after Ornette, Chris Connor, and the Modern Jazz Quartet.

The reissue, which is part of a series of remastered releases celebrating ESP’s 50th anniversary, also includes liner notes by Gunther Schuller and a poem about Ran by Bob Marius, both from the original LP.

Although the album is not well known, many jazz critics and serious fans consider it ones of Ran’s finest. JazzTimes‘ Bill Shoemaker called it “a signal, early entry into solo piano … At a time when being a jazz progressive meant spooling out expansive, explosive and ecstatic tomes, Blake achieved what was, for the times, a unique, if not contrarian introspection and intimacy.”

A limited number of CDs are available from ranblake.com. It’s also available on amazon.com (in CD or MP3 versions) and from iTunes.

Halloween Concert at NEC: A Preminger Tribute

Tuesday, November 5 For this year’s Halloween concert at the New England Conservatory, Ran and co-producer Aaron Hartley present “Preminger: Laura,” a tribute to Otto Preminger. Students and faculty of NEC’s Contemporary Improvisation department perform along with clips from two Preminger films, Laura and Whirlpool. The 8 p.m. show, at Jordan Hall, is free. Read more about it on NEC’s site and on Facebook.

Ran in Copenhagen 

In late October Ran spent several enjoyable days in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to catching up with some old friends, Ran gave a trio performance at Village Recording and an interview and a master class at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory. Here’s Ran at the Conservatory with Ellis Johansen (assistant to the principal, who helped coordinate Ran’s appearance) and Kresten Osgood (a faculty member who invited Ran). Ran’s trio included Kresten on drums and Jonas Westergaard on bass.

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 lulu.com.Thanks for reading. We’ll see you in November.

Vol. 9, No. 10