Reviews for Ran Blake & Christine Correa’s Out Of the Shadows
Released in 2010 on Red Piano Records
“One measure of Mr. Blake’s continuing fascination [with Abbey Lincoln] is that “Out of the Shadows” (Red Piano), his new album with Ms. Correa, includes two songs Ms. Lincoln recorded during that era. “When Malindy Sings,” based on a Paul Laurence Dunbar dialect poem, appears on “Straight Ahead,” while “Mendacity,” from a 1961 album by Mr. Roach, revolves around an embittered and still-pertinent political critique.
Ms. Correa stamps both songs with annunciatory fervor, sounding quite like Ms. Lincoln’s acolyte. Her bold projection extends to the rest of the album, a thoughtful assortment of lesser-known standards. She isn’t afraid to open up on a note, almost to the point of wailing, but she’s strategic with her firepower, often taking her time. She seems to weigh each lyric for dramatic effect, and Mr. Blake does much the same, sometimes voicing his chords as if scoring a film, with wryness and care. (At one point in “Mendacity,” he interpolates the opening phrase of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”)
-Nate Chinen, New York Times
“The spectacular second coupling of pianist Ran Blake and vocalist Christine Correa, Out of the Shadows is one of the most extraordinary albums of 2010. Both are wonderful storytellers in their own right. Music appears to flow and gush and foam through Blake’s body, breaking in waves from his hands and fingertips as they flutter and fly and splash across the keyboard of the piano. As this happens, each note and phrase and metaphor tells a story like a film of life unravelling, reel after reel. The work of Federico Fellini comes immediately to mind. Like that other master, Blake utters notes that can weep and laugh. His music is always heartfelt and he is a master of placing sound and silence in their rightful places. He is a classicist, a Greek, when it comes to describing the pathos of the human condition in song.
The Bombay-born, New York based, Correa is cut from the same cloth as Abbey Lincoln and Sheila Jordan. Like those timeless griots her voice bends to her will. Correa is completely composed at all times. She has complete control over her vocal chords. And because her style is so singular—so ancient, yet so modern—she seems to narrate epic stories as she treads through the fabric of the songs. The characters are brought to life, laugh and cry and quiver with the delight of just being alive. Often Correa does not so much sing her songs as she “cries” them. Sometimes, in a rapid succession of quarter tones she can make the earth around her rise up and sing.
Music like that which tumbles out of this album comes once in a lifetime. It is when body and spirit are perfectly aligned and instruments—both piano and voice—become so completely subservient to the spirit. On “Social Call” everything, voice, story, piano and song come together in a continuum that is impossible to replicate. The same goes for “Hi Lili Hi Lo.” Correa becomes the song on the traditional Sephardic anthem “Una Matica De Ruda” as she sallies forth wordlessly, bending and twisting notes at will. On two anthems from the early days of Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln, “When Malindy Sings” and “Mendacity,” Correa is sublime. She makes both tracks her own and this is some feat as no one but Lincoln and Roach are associated with both songs—the former from Lincoln’s Straight Ahead album (Candid, 1961) and the latter track from the classic Roach recording of Percussion Bitter Sweet (Impulse, 1961).
There are tracks that make this union of souls quite unforgettable. Ironically both are solo efforts. The first, “This Will All Seem Funny” features Ran Blake alone and the other a revisit to “Out of the Shadows,” this time with Correa on her own. Remarkably, these solo outings that close out this memorable set serve to accentuate the qualities that each artist brings to the session: intensity, singular purpose and unqualified dedication to the art of music.”
-Raul D’Gama Rose, All About Jazz
“Out of the Shadows plays with darkness and light, heroically cascading between various musical forms without losing the thread of honesty and integrity within. It is a shocking, beautiful, strange piece of work from Correa and Blake and it has been haunting my speakers for several days now with its ethereal, graceful qualities.”
-Jordan Richardson, Blog Critics Music
“Christine and Ran Blake have released a very good album. The issue of course is that avant-garde style Jazz is a taste not enjoyed by everyone and they don’t try to make it any more accessible on Out of the Shadows. It can be an acquired taste but the taste once acquired is well worth it.”
-Doug Morrissey, MuzikReviews.com
“Intense and cerebral yet unselfconsciously raw and soulful, this album – and this collaboration – will resonate with anyone who appreciates those qualities, beyond the jazz idiom where these two artists are typically pigeonholed, for better or worse.”