NEW YORK, NY -- On March 7th, Tompkins Square Records will release new landmark solo piano recordings from two of America's most enigmatic musicians, Charles Gayle and Ran Blake. Gayle's Time Zones (TSQ 2839) is his first recording to feature all original piano improvisations and only the second solo piano recording of his career. Blake's All That Is Tied (TSQ 1965), his 35th release, was recorded 40 years to the month after his first solo piano recording, 1965's Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano (ESP), and also marks his 70th birthday with a program that revisits original compositions from throughout his career. Gayle and Blake will celebrate the release of their new recordings, which will be distributed in the U.S. by Fontana/Universal, with performances at The Stone in New York on Friday, March 10th.
Critics have called Charles Gayle "a master of musical improvisation" (Portland Tribune), "certainly a talent not to be taken lightly" (All Music Guide) and the purveyor of "a visionary music forged by spiritual exploration and sonic discovery" (Philadelphia City Paper). Although he is known primarily as the indefatigable tenor saxophonist with a sound that blends the spirituality of John Coltrane with the free expression on Albert Ayler, his first instrument was the piano. Since putting his long and storied past as a homeless New York street musician behind him, and recording for the first time in the late 1980's, he has steadily integrated piano into his performances, leading AllAboutJazz.com reviewer Dennis Hollingsworth to declare, "Charles Gayle is without question one of the most intriguing figures in modern jazz today. Like with his saxophone playing, Gayle uses the entire range of the piano. His style is highly personal, yet firmly grounded in the playing of past masters like Art Tatum and Bud Powell." More information is available at http://www.charlesgayle.com
A cult figure surrounded by the same mysterious aura that permeates the classic Film Noir scenes which so inspire him, pianist/composer/educator Ran Blake has been one of improvised music's most respected and incomparable voices for more than 40 years. His noteworthy collaborators on record have included Anthony Braxton, Clifford Jordan, Steve Lacy, Jeanne Lee, and Houston Person among others, but his seminal solo recordings have always defined his discography and his career. As former student John Medeski puts it in the All That Is Tied liner notes, "alone at the piano is how Ran Blake reveals the depth of his musical universe most completely." Critics write that Blake "ranks among the music's most brilliant and engaging improvisers" (Boston Herald), "demonstrates an eloquence of touch and a sense of improvisational design surpassed only by Thelonious Monk" (Philadelphia Inquirer) and "is so hip it hurts...a pianist who can make you laugh at his wry humor one second and wring a tear the next" (DownBeat). Writing for the Boston Globe, Fred Kaplan asserted, "There is no pianist alive, except possibly Cecil Taylor, who can elicit so many colors from the keyboard as Ran Blake, and Blake, it should be quickly noted, paints from a broader, more accessible palette." More information is available at http://www.ranblake.com
Scott Menhinick, Improvised Communications