Ran Blake

Duke Dreams

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Although Ran Blake plays nine Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn songs on this set (plus his own "Duke Dreams," Dave Brubeck's "The Duke," and the ancient and rather delightful "Animal Crackers," which Ellington recorded in 1926), he does not try to emulate the masters; instead, Blake interprets their music on his own terms, making each note count and each performance into a dramatic solo recital. While hinting at Duke's piano style, Ran Blake often reharmonizes and greatly reinvents his music, including such pieces as "Drop Me Off in Harlem," "It Don't Mean a Thing," and "Take the 'A' Train." Highly recommended.

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