Ran Blake

Unmarked Van: Tribute to Sarah Vaughan

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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.

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