370

Ran Blake: All That Is Tied

By

Sign in to view read count
Ran Blake: All That Is Tied Of the plethora of pianist/composers who have extended the style of Thelonious Monk, none has been as relentlessly exploratory and consistently thoughtful in his experiments as Ran Blake. On this session recorded four decades after his first solo piano album on ESP, Blake revisits material he's recorded in the past, but Blake has never remotely repeated his interpretations routinely. At the age of 70, he will hardly routinize his repetoire now.

Blake performs the twelve numbers with characteristic daring. The Monk influence has grown refined over the deacdes. It began with a foregrounding of Monk's surprising dissonances and a widening of Monk's oddly placed silences. But unlike Monk, Blake brings a kind of European classical sensibility, both melodically and harmonically, to his improvisations. I've always thought he created a unique fusion of Schoenberg and Webern with Monk and black gospel. This disc adds strength to my conviction. It's austere and dramatic as only the twelve-tone row composers could be—but funny and quirky as only Monk could be.

This probably explains why Ran Blake has never remotely received the recognition that he has deserved. His music plays at the margins of what jazz piano has been historically. In a healthier cultural climate for jazz, this would be acclaimed as genius. But in today's rigidly conservative cultural atmosphere, Blake doesn't cause the needle on Wynton's "Swing-o-Meter" to wobble. Blake's music doesn't so much conventionally swing as tell a phantasmagoric tale impressionistically. The twelve compositions on this disc run together in my mind as a series of fantastic dreams flowing timelessly forward. It is a lovely introduction for those unlucky souls who haven't heard Ran Blake before—and an ideal career retrospective for those who have.

My only minor caveat is that I don't like how the recording engineer captured Blake's piano. In fact, the so-so recorded sound brings to mind that Ran Blake's first solo album forty years ago also suffered from sub-par sound quality, although many ESP releases did. I wish ECM had recorded Blake and would do so now.

Track Listing: All That Is Tied; Breakthru; Birmingham, U.S.A.; Thursday; How

Personnel: Ran Blake: piano.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Tompkins Square | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Deep" CD/LP/Track Review Deep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Romance 76" CD/LP/Track Review Romance 76
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "Goran Ivanovic Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Goran Ivanovic Trio
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 1, 2016
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Kill Together" CD/LP/Track Review Kill Together
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Everything's Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Everything's Beautiful
by Asher Wolf
Published: July 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!