Reviews that mention Ran Blake

June 22, 2019

Ran Blake/Claire Ritter

Eclipse Orange
Zoning Recordings ZR 1013

Vijay Iyer/Craig Taborn

The Transitory Poems

ECM 2644

Working out original duo-piano strategies are two sets of American improvisers, one of veterans and one made of up of young veterans. Both have chosen to record their creations in concert, but that’s where the parallels stop. Young veterans Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn concentrate on lengthy duets that emphasize compositions, most of which are designed as homage to older piano heroes. Ran Blake and Claire Ritter on the other hand mix solos and duo interpretations plus tracks where Ritter plays with alto saxophonist Kent O'Doherty. Yet the 20 tracks on Eclipse Orange in total time out at 20 fewer minutes than the eight that make up The Transitory Poems. MORE

February 11, 2016

Ran Blake

Ghost Tones
A side 0001

Bennani/Greene/Silva/Henderson

Free Form Improvisatio Ensemble 2013

Improvising Beings ib 40

Joe McPhee

Ticonderoga

Clean Feed 345 CD

Lvio Minafra/Louis Moholo-Moholo

Born Free

Nicipic Records Inc 2013

Irène Schweizer/Han Bennink

Welcome Back

Intakt 254

Something In The Air: Advanced Jazz’s Fountain of Youth

By Ken Waxman

One common shibboleth of mid-20th century creative music was that “jazz was a young man’s art”. Putting aside the sexism implicit in the statement, the idea denied jazz musicians the sort of late career acclaim that notated music masters like Pablo Casals and Vladimir Horowitz enjoyed. Times have more than changed. Expanded from the Baby Boomer cliché that “50 is the new 30”, and its upwards affiliations, career longevity is now taken for granted in all serious music. These CDs recorded by improvised musicians in their seventies attest to that. MORE

December 11, 2015

Lest We Forget

Gunther Schuller
By Ken Waxman

During his long professional career Gunther Schuller, who died this past June and was born November 22, 1925, was a French horn player, composer, conductor, author, university professor, record company and orchestra founder, festival administrator and conservatory president, whose associates included Aaron Copeland, John Lewis and Charles Mingus. But for certain segments of the music world he’s best-known for a phrase he coined during a 1957 lecture at Brandeis University: Third Stream. While his idea of uniting the streams of jazz and classical music into a tributary that melded influences from both was initially greeted with derision, nearly a half-century later cross over between the two is increasingly common. MORE

February 6, 2015

Label Spotlight

Red Piano Records
By Ken Waxman

When I was a kid and got interested in jazz, my first deep passion was with vocalists. This interest has continued to this day,” explains Brooklyn-based pianist Frank Carlberg. “Singing also doesn’t go through a ‘middle-man’ such as an instrument which exists to translate your imagination/interior into sound. So often in instrumental studies we talk about trying to make our instrument sing.”

That statement goes a long way towards explaining why Red Piano Records (RPR), the label which Carlberg helps direct as partner in an artist-run cooperative, has released so many vocal-oriented CDs since its founding in 2008. At the same time the majority of these discs are quite different than those involved with the expected songbook repertoire. Pianist Ran Blake and singer Christine Correa for instance have recorded two CDs saluting the work of singer Abbey Lincoln; while Correa, is often called upon to interpret Carlberg’s musical settings of modern American poetry. MORE