Since the 1950s, Boston-based third stream jazz pianist Ran Blake has made some of the most cerebral piano jazz albums around. Most effective in a solo or duo format (his most famous records were made with the late singer Jeanne Lee), Blake's style is marked by alternating stretches of near-ambient minimalism and choppy, percussive runs that he aptly terms "outbursts." Yet his playing never sounds over-studied or quirky, and unlike many avant-garde jazz hands, he's maintained a connection to the music's roots, as shown on the downright funky boogie-woogie "Latter Rain Christian Fellowship." A solo record recorded in 2005 to celebrate Blake's 70th birthday, All That Is Tied touches on every facet of Blake's unique piano style, summing up this underrated composer and educator's career in the space of 12 brief original compositions.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason