Indian Winter, 2005

Reviews for Ran Blake’s Indian Winter
Released in 2005 on Soul Note

“Like Alfred Hitchcock, the filmmaker he most admires, Ran Blake uses odd angles to shape the audience’s view of his material.  In Hitchcock the oddly framed scene can disorient viewers, causing discomfort though the subject is mundane. Blake does the same with the strains of the torch songs he favors. He darkens the harmonies, pushing them away from the tonality ever so slightly. He knows how to strip a melody to its emotional core. He swings, but with a certain diffidence. And though Blake would never be described as a virtuoso pianist, he employs a full palette of pianistic color.  All this is on display on Indian Winter.”

-David Dupont, One Final Note

“Blake plucks elements from the pieces he plays and amps them up or takes them in unusual directions (sometimes violently), but he never lingers at all; his goal seems to be not standard jazz development of themes through solos but accumulating and juxtaposing enigmatic moments until they turn into an evocative mosaic. Blake gave Fabris the nickname “Knife,” and his electric ax indeed cuts across the acoustic and chops up the melodies he plays into their essential bits. It’s tricky to adjust your expectations to what Blake and Fabris are giving you, but it’s also quite rewarding…”

-Andrew Lindemann Malone, JazzTimes

“Most pieces on “Indian Winter” are performed by Ran Blake on the piano, a few by David Fabris on guitar, and some are played together. But they’re great. Lots of covers and a couple of original compositions, but sounding great. An experimental approach, mixed with nice jazz voicings. I love it.”

-United Mutations

“Pianist Ran Blake may not have as big a name as Hall but he is a great pianist who has been making striking music for maybe as long. Indian Winter is a collaboration between Mr. Blake and guitarist David Fabris (a former student and longtime collaborator of Blake’s). The first thing that hits you is the CD’s listed 23 tracks! The composers represented here are diverse: from Bacharach to Zappa, through Neal Hefti, Alex North, Ornette Coleman and Duke Ellington. “Spiral Staircase establishes the sound and rapport between the two musicians: as impressive as the rapport amongst Hall and his collaborators, yet not every track is an actual duo, as there are some solo piano and solo guitar pieces.

Then on “Streetcar Named Desire Fabris uses a heavily distorted guitar on a theme statement, later in the same piece employing a more typical sound. Fabris’ unaccompanied solo guitar, heard on Frank Zappa’s “Marqueson’s Chicken, moves smoothly from sound to sound and mood to mood with ease that belies great skill. On the levels of texture, originality, arrangements, surprise, skill and most of all, freshness, Indian Winter is a real find.”

– Francis Lo Kee, All About Jazz


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