May, 2015

Tonight, May 30th at 7pm!
MaxReger Foundation Fundraiser

Tonight! Ran Blake performs at the Church on the Hill at 140 Bowdoin Street, Boston. The proceeds from this charity performance, raffle, and silent auction will be donated to the Max Reger Foundation of America, which supports underprivileged youth in attending and paying for tuition at high caliber music conservatories’ youth programs. The Max Reger Foundation of America has supported and seen the rise of its students as they perform on the BSO stage, From the Top, and other elite classical institutions.

For more details on tickets:
email: garden.no3@rcn.com
call: (617) 523-4575

 

Ran Blake & Sara Serpa
Kitano Noir CD Release in NY
June 20, 8pm and 10pm
“Sara Serpa is cool, calm, tropical, limpid, but don’t be fooled… she’ll take you for a noir spin.”
~Ran BlakeOn June 20, Ran is performing with vocalist Sara Serpa at Jazz at Kitano (NY) for a CD release of their highly anticipated album, Kitano Noir. The album includes selections from eight sets of live recordings the duo have recorded at Jazz at Kitano in June of 2013 & 2014. Their performances at Kitano are becoming somewhat of an annual tradition.

The CD is available for purchase through Sunnyside Records, iTunes, Amazon, at the show, and, starting July 1, on ranblake.com.

There are two sets at 8pm and 10pm ($30 each set).
Buy Tickets HERE

London Jazz Review and All About Jazz on
Ghost Tones
: Portraits of George Russell

The quietly individual pianist Ran Blake is a lifelong student of composer, arranger and theorist George Russell. They were long-time colleagues at the New England Conservatory (NEC) where Blake still teaches. But their musical relationship began in the 1950s with Russell’s Jazz Workshop release. The new CD booklet reproduces a star-studded list of signatures Blake gathered in New York in 1959, petitioning RCA to keep that recording available when it went out of print (they declined).Half a century on, Blake has more clout – hence this set in tribute to his late colleague and friend, recorded five years ago and released now in the run up to Blake’s 80th birthday. The seventeen brief excursions here are topped and tailed with two solo piano ruminations on Autumn in New York, rendered in Blake’s familiar oblique fashion which manages to make it sound unlike any versions you heard before but still leave the song clearly discernible. In between are pieces for piano, a few duos, and some executed by an ensemble of NEC alumni schooled in Blake and Russell’s methods. They include Aaron Hartley on trombone who also produced the session.

The set list mixes works by Russell with new compositions of Blake’s inspired by moments in the former’s biography, and one other songbook piece, Rodgers’ and Hart’s Manhattan. This last has a nod or two to Ellington, but Russell and, in Blake’s playing, Monk are the guiding lights.

The music overall has the wistful, gently melancholic temper that the pianist’s preference for slow to medium tempos and unusual chord choices habitually evokes. It suits the Russell pieces well. They are mostly early Russell – three come from that Jazz Workshop set – so do not call for the rhythmic layering or often raucous soloing of his later big band work. They are presented here as richly detailed chamber jazz miniatures.

Russell’s most widely noted contribution to jazz is his pioneering of the shift to organizing solos around modes rather than chord sequences. But there is much more to his work than that and the unusual sonorities and pleasantly unexpected intervals that the small group pieces here continually serve up and reflect some of its other aspects. Jack’s Blues, one of those old workshop pieces, sounds like a more adventurous out-take from The Birth of the Cool. The Ballad of Hix Blewitt sets violin against pedal-steel guitar and calls to mind Bill Frisell’s warped Americana. Occasional touches of electronics reflect Russell’s early interest in synthesizers – as in Biography, a piano solo set against an electronic backdrop.

Russell’s career was longer and more diverse than a single recording can convey. Still, the variety, musicality, and constant small surprises of Ghost Tones are a fascinating homage to a figure whose work is, as Blake says, as distinctive in its way as that of Messiaen, Strayhorn or Stevie Wonder.

by Jon Turney

Original Link: CLICK HERE

Want to read another?

Dan McClenaghan of All About Jazz gives Ghost Tones 4 1/2 stars! (5/20/15)

CLICK HERE

Another… if you speak Greek:
Παρασκευή, 29 Μαΐου 2015
CLICK HERE

Have a Great Summer NEC Students! 

Here’s a lovely photo of DecTor! (the cat) with the sensational multi-talented Jacob Hiser.Ran wishes all of his students a happy, healthy, restful, and productive summer at home or abroad. Cheers to your awesome work this year! See you in the Fall!

Ran Recommends

Check out Ran’s calendar page for concerts he recommends in and around Boston. There’s a lot of great music coming up, including Eden MacAdam-Somer‘s CD Release of My First Love Story, a solo concert featuring voice, violin, viola, and percussive dance, at NEC’s Jordan Hall, June 28 7pm (free).

Private Lessons with Ran this Summer
Ran will be available for private lessons from June until the end of July. If you are interested please email Aaron Hartley at aaron@ranblake.com.

What’s to come?
CI REP with Christine Correa, that’s what!

Ran’s been in the studio with Christine Correa for a new album with Red Piano Records that features repertoire

from his legendary “CI Rep tapes 1+2.” Stay tuned for more info and a release date. Photo by Charmaine Lee.