Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

7

Ran Blake: Ghost Tones: Portraits of George Russell

Jakob Baekgaard By

Sign in to view read count
Sometimes an album can haunt you. It can be a companion that follows you through life. In the liner notes for the album: Ghost Tones: Portraits of George Russell (A-Side Records, 2015), pianist and composer Ran Blake reveals his love for composer and bandleader George Russell's album Jazz Workshop (RCA-Victor, 1957): "I listened to it so much that I wore out several copies, each time having to revisit the record store to replace it."

Blake's love for the album was so great that when it went out of print, he started a petition to bring the album back in print. Those who signed included musicians like Ornette Coleman, Gil Evans, Charles Mingus and many others. Unfortunately, he did not succeed immediately, although the album later came back in print, but the handwritten signs of musical passion serve as decoration in the album's booklet and, of course, there is the music. Three compositions from the album are included in Blake's tribute to his old friend and teacher: "Jack's Blues," "Ballad of Hix Blewitt" and "Ezz-Thetic."

"Ezz-Thetic" is the classic composition based on the chords from "Love for Sale." Blake slows the tempo considerably down and lets the chords ring out in the air as he delicately explores the ambience between harmony and dissonance and a soft and hard touch where he shrewdly lets echoes of the original standard emanate from the piano. In fact, throughout the album, with the help of several musicians, Blake waves a complex tapestry between standards, folk music, classical, avant-garde and his own and Russell's music.

The subtitle of the album says Portraits of George Russell and the plural form is not a coincidence. There are many different narratives on the album. One is the story of Blake's fascination with a particular album (Jazz Workshop) and another story is the tale of Russell's own life told through music. It is a narrative thread bookended by a beautiful interpretation of the standard "Autumn Leaves."

Indeed, the mood on the album could be characterized as autumnal. Ghost Tones: Portraits of George Russell is a work that congenially sums up the musical talent of Russell and, at the same time, shows Blake as his kindred spirit, but also as an idiosyncratic artist who goes his own way. The transformed tones of Russell's music echo through Blake's playing and it is shown how Russell's own music is haunted by jazz tradition. Blake does not try to hide this ghost, but, on the contrary, he brings it out into the open -just like he reveals his own inspiration from Russell.

Ghost Tones: Portraits of George Russell forms a complex tribute that underlines the importance of Russell, but also sheds important light on Blake as a composer, player and interpreter and portrays him as an original jazz artist in his own right who, like Russell, acknowledges the musical ghosts of the past.

Track Listing: Autumn in New York; Alice Norbury; Living Time; Paris; Telegram From Gunther; Biography; Stratusphunk; Jack's Blues; Manhattan; Balad of Hix Blewitt; Cincinnati Express; Vertical Form VI; JacquesCrawls; Lonely Place; Ess-Thetic; You Are My Sunshine; Autumn in New York.

Personnel: Ran Blake: piano, Casio Priva PX electric piano (2, 3, 12, 14); Peter Kenagy: trumpet (3, 5, 10, 14); Aaron Hartley: trombone (3, 5, 8, 10, 14); Doug Pet: tenor saxophone (3, 14); Eric Lane: piano (3), Nord Electro, Fender Rhodes electric pianos (12); Jason Yeager: piano (12); Ryan Dugre: guitar: (8); Dave "Knife" Fabris: pedal steel gutar (10, 16); Rachel Massey: violin (10, 16); Brad Barrett acoustic bass (12), electric bass (3); David Flaherty: drums (8, 14); timpani (8); Charles Burchell: drums (3), timpani (12, 14), vibraphone (14);Luke Moldof: electronics (6).

Title: Ghost Tones: Portraits of George Russell | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: A-side Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Misterioso

Misterioso

Ran Blake
The Newest Sound You Never Heard

Love Dance

Love Dance

Ran Blake
Streaming

Autumn in New York

Autumn in New York

Ran Blake
Ghost Tones

All That Is Tied

All That Is Tied

Ran Blake
All That Is Tied

Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Bailey's Bundles
Album Reviews
Read more articles
The Newest Sound You Never Heard

The Newest Sound You...

A-side Records
2019

buy
Streaming

Streaming

Red Piano Records
2018

buy
Ghost Tones: Portraits of George Russell

Ghost Tones:...

A-side Records
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019
Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019