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Unmarked Van (A Tribute to Sarah Vaughan)

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Album Review

This is certainly an off-the-wall tribute. Ran Blake, a very individual pianist who often emphasizes the melodies and emotions of standards while stripping the songs of their chord sequences, pays homage to Sarah Vaughan. While Blake is an introverted improviser prone to surprise explosions at the piano, Sassy was extroverted and never shy about show off her incomparable technique. Blake simply plays in his own distinctive style, giving such songs as "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," "My Man's Gone Now," "Whatever Lola Wants," "Moonlight on the Ganges," "Stompin' at the Savoy" and four versions of "Tenderly" very unusual and haunting treatments; drummer Tiziano Tononi, although listed as only being on one song, actually helps out on several tracks. This moody and melancholy yet strangely celebratory set will stay in one's memory long after the CD has been played.


Born: 20 April 1935 in Springfield, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Third stream pianist and music educator Ran Blake has recorded a number of unique, often solo, jazz albums since the early '60s that showcase his dramatic contrasts of silence and "outbursts" and fresh reinventions of older standards. He has also made his mark on music by influencing music students for many decades at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music. He was born in Springfield, MA, on April 20, 1935, and eventually got his degree from Bard College, in addition to studying at Columbia...
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Unmarked Van (A Tribute to Sarah Vaughan), Ran Blake
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