Contemporary Improvisation; Jazz Studies
Third Stream pianist Ran Blake has recorded more than 30 albums and performed in major jazz festivals, concert halls, jazz clubs, and universities throughout Europe and the Americas.
Blake was the founding chair of NEC's Contemporary Improvisation department (then called Third Stream), from 1972 through 2005, and continues to teach full-time. His innovative teaching approach, known as "the primacy of the ear," emphasizes the listening process and long-term memory rather than sheet music.
His premiere recording, The Newest Sound Around, won the 1963 RCA Album First Prize in Germany and the 1980 Prix Billie Holiday and is included in the Académie du Jazz. Blake frequently incorporates melodies inspired by dreams and film noir into his compositions. Recent releases include Indian Winter (a 2005 album with guitarist/NEC alumnus David Fabris) and All That Is Tied (a 2006 album of solo piano that appeared on numerous jazz publications' year-end "Best of" lists, including The Village Voice and Downbeat magazine.)
Blake has received a MacArthur Fellowship, in addition to fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation.
B.A., Bard College. Studies at School of Jazz, Lenox, Mass., Columbia University. Composition and improvisation with Ray Cassarino, Oscar Peterson, Willis Laurence James, William Russo, Gunther Schuller, Mal Waldron, Mary Lou Williams, Kate Wolff. Recordings on Soul Note, Owl, Horo, Crest, RCA, Arista.