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Ran Blake - Ghost Tones

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I know we have some Ran fans here and wanted to pull your coat to his new cd, Ghost Tones. It's finally out and available through www.ranblake.com and www.cdbaby.com -- and it is special. In addition to a bunch of George Russell compositions, Ran does a few standards associated with GR and a handful of original tribute compositions. In itself, this is nothing new, Ran recorded "Stratusphunk" on ESP 50 years ago.

What is much rarer is this instrumentation and ensemble variety: solo, duo, strings, electronics. And like all of Ran's music, it's cinematic, it tells a story. And the production (done in NEC's Jordan Hall) has that rich, big-room feel that seems so scarce these days. Ran's extensive liner notes about his close relationship with GR, some of their escapades, and their musical connection are not to be missed -- and seeing the signatures of Monk, Eric Dolphy, Ornette, and Bill Evans right next to each other (among a other luminaries) sends a chill down the spine. George's widow, Alice, was also closely involved in the project too.

I had posted a few months back when I first heard a rough mix of Ghost Tones and after listening to it now dozens and dozens of times now it still blows me away.

If you know Ran's music or Russell's, it really is de rigueur. If you're new to Ran and curious, this is an entertaining outlier to plunge into -- no toe dipping here. There really are no easy "similars" but I would say if you like Monk, Paul Bley, John Lewis, Ornette -- while cautioning he's really nothing like any of them -- modern music or abstract art of any stripe, don't deny yourself this unique pleasure.

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:tup

Placed my order this weekend. Looking forward to getting this very long awaited disc.

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Thanks! Looking forward to this.

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I'm going to get it too.

FWIW, I like the relatively new Chris Connor tribute album a lot.

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Thank you as well, will definitely order this. I believe this was supposed to be issued by Hatology.

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I'm going to get it too.

FWIW, I like the relatively new Chris Connor tribute album a lot.

The new CC tribute is really nice. Can't wait for the forthcoming Claude Chabrol tribute that (I think) was recorded at the same sessions.

Thank you as well, will definitely order this. I believe this was supposed to be issued by Hatology.

That's right, Craig. Can't remember exactly why, but Aaron Hartley (who co-produced and plays on the cd) bought the masters from Werner Uehlinger / HatHut and released it (with Ran) on his own imprint a-side records. Let us know what you think when you've listened to it...

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Ran played amazingly well when I saw him a few months ago in concert in Baltimore/DC.

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Thanks for the tip. Ordered from ranblake.com. Anybody done that before, seems like they have plenty to offer, hoping the shipping is tight.

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I always receive my packages from Brookline in a timely and proper fashion.

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Im a fan of timely and proper, at least when it comes to shipping!

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Ran played amazingly well when I saw him a few months ago in concert in Baltimore/DC.

I wasn't there but heard a recording of that show at An Die Music and it was pretty amazing, especially that second half. Ran is playing better than ever. It reminds me of later Billie Holiday: one note, one sound contains the entire omniverse.

Thanks for the tip. Ordered from ranblake.com. Anybody done that before, seems like they have plenty to offer, hoping the shipping is tight.

Always well handled. Also, they have a special if you want to build your Ran collection, buy three cds and get one free. A great deal and they have some rarer stuff available too.

As a side note, Ran is playing some shows in Europe over the next few weeks. Check out this clip from a couple days ago in Milan:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaCWiXxQKbk

Art of the very highest order. With the walker no less -- now that is badass.

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I always receive my packages from Brookline in a timely and proper fashion.

This one arrived from New Orleans?!?!?!?!?!?!

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I always receive my packages from Brookline in a timely and proper fashion.

This one arrived from New Orleans?!?!?!?!?!?!

From Mr. Steve Mardon no doubt. He's a Ran associate and a fine guitarist/songwriter, having penned "I Think We Need to Talk (6 Words Nobody Wants to Hear)" among others. Ran also did a brief cover of his "This Will All Seem Funny" on the Out of the Shadows cd...

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I've reviewed Ghost Tones on my blog improvised. Here's an excerpt:

"The words I thought of when listening to Ghost Tones was “fever dream”. Through various solo, duo and group performances, a languid mood is sustained, mixed with Mr. Blake’s trademark Noir sensibilities. There are some subtle electronic touches that appear, and even though there are contributions from thirteen musicians sprinkled through the CD, a consistent tone and mood carries through all seventeen tracks. Ghost Tones plays as one continual piece, taking the listener through a time capsule of various aspects of Mr. Russell’s music and Mr. Blake’s signature conception.

The CD begins and ends with Ran alone, with two gorgeous versions of Autumn in New York, beautiful harmonies capturing the perfect fall day in the city with a touch of sentiment and regret."

You can read the full review on improvised.

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