Monday, March 21, 2005

Eclectic Stroking the Familiar

"When Mr. Blake, a pianist, begins a song like ''The Midnight Sun'' or ''Stella by Starlight'' or ''Mood Indigo'' he suggests its harmonic world with a few powerful opening chords, revs up the sustain pedal and slips into extreme displays of rubato and dynamics. He will assault you with one rich, harmonious chord, a room-filler, then chase it away with the next one, a quiet, mildly dissonant pianissimo stab with no sustain. Mr. Blake has been teaching at the New England Conservatory since 1967, in the department that was once called third stream -- meaning the intertwining of jazz and classical-music philosophy and pedagogy -- but is now called contemporary improvisation. And there is a special-interest feeling to what he does; in no way is he part of a mainstream movement within jazz. (You couldn't even call it a niche because nobody has directly followed his example.) But what he does -- using solo-piano technique, imagination and memory to construct a slightly disturbing dream of American music -- is fascinatingly original"

Well, it's not that original, but worth a listen. Read the rest
of it here

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