September, 2013

September 2013

Welcome to the September issue of Ran’s newsletter.

Ran’s assistant Aaron Hartley recently compiled a 12-minute video from several documentaries and performance clips. It includes interviews with Ran and other musicians on Ran’s life, music, and teaching theories. Click on the picture above to watch the video.
You can also watch a 70-minute video, “Ran Blake: A Life in Music,” produced by the New England Conservatory in honor of Ran receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award last year by clicking here. It includes additional clips from the same sources as well as musical tributes by a number of NEC alumni.

Upcoming Appearances: Copenhagen in October


Friday, October 25 Ran performs at 8 p.m. at Village Recording in Copenhagen, Denmark, with Jonas Westergaard on bass and Kresten Osgood on drums. For more information, visit contact the venue by phone at (+45) 40 76 85 44 or via email at
Ran will also appear at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen on the two preceding days. On Wednesday, October 23, he’ll do an interview at 1 p.m., and on Thursday, October 24, he’ll give a master class at 3 p.m. For more information, call the Conservatory at (+45) 32 68 67 00 or e-mail

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, as well as John Stahl’s Leave Her to Heaven. (All three films star Gene Tierney and were made in the prime noir era of the mid-to-late 1940s.) The 8 p.m. show, at Jordan Hall, is free. Read more about it here.

Ran’s Reflections: Marc Cary


Ran’s thoughts on Marc Cary’s August 29 tribute to his late mentor Abbey Lincoln at Scullers in Boston:
I had admired Marc’s recent CD For the Love of Abbey (Motema, 2013) but my response, although enthusiastic, was rather mild. Not so his live performance. It was quite spectacular. He had incredible rhythmical drive, common sense of melody and exciting stage presence. There were moments that brought me practically to tears when he would phrase something that sounded as if Abbey was in the room.
There were several highlights. Marc opened with Abbey’s best known piece, “Throw It Away.” His performance of this standard was full of hypnotic energy and beat. He also reinterpreted “Another World” and then brought the audience to a hush in an incredible performance of “Down Here Below.” The concert closed with “The Music is the Magic.” Then Marc received an ovation and did an original piece by request.
It’s important to acknowledge the faith that the club’s Fred Taylor, Alexandra Yabrov, Annmarie Blythe and their associates have for Abbey’s music. For more than 15 years Abbey and her trio (which included Marc and the drummer Jaz Sawyer) were the yearly event at Scullers.
This solo show provided not only an incredible amount of energy for the beginning of the Boston concert season, but also rekindled rich memories of the club’s past and highlighted Lincoln’s influence on the music of tomorrow.
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

Thanks for reading. We’ll see you in October.

 Vol. 9, No. 9