Ran Blake

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Ran Blake has been primarily known as a highly individual solo pianist, so this Novus album (put out by Arista in 1978 and overdue to be reissued on CD) was a change of pace in instrumentation, if not in style. Four pieces are duets with the talented hard bop tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford, and a fifth number adds bassist Rufus Reid. In addition, the innovative altoist Anthony Braxton duets with Blake on "Vanguard," Eleni Odoni sings an obscurity, there are three piano solos, and on "Wende," Blake gets to accompany one of his favorite singers, Chris Connor. In general, the music is pretty sparse and very much in the pianist's unique style, a strong addition to his discography.