Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee | The Newest Sound You Never Heard (1966-67 European Recordings)

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Jazz: Third Stream Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Moods: Type: Improvisational
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The Newest Sound You Never Heard (1966-67 European Recordings)

by Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee

The Newest Sound You Never Heard now doubles the material available from this unparalleled duo, pianist Ran Blake and vocalist Jeanne Lee. Please note: this contains never released material from the VRT-Archive and does not contain any re-released tracks.
Genre: Jazz: Third Stream
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Misterioso
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
3:06 $0.99
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2. Honeysuckle Rose
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
3:10 $0.99
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3. Green Dolphin St.
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
4:32 $0.99
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4. A Hard Day's Night
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:15 $0.99
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5. I Can't Give You Anything but Love
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:46 $0.99
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6. Hallelujah, I Love Him So
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
1:55 $0.99
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7. Night and Day
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
5:41 $0.99
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8. Ja-Da (Take 1)
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
1:42 $0.99
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9. Something's Coming
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
4:35 $0.99
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10. Just Squeeze Me
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:51 $0.99
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11. God’s Image (Solo Ran)
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:15 $0.99
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12. Retribution
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:22 $0.99
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13. Smoke After Smoke
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:04 $0.99
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14. Parker’s Mood
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
4:13 $0.99
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15. Caravan (Take 1)
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:21 $0.99
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16. Beautiful City
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:37 $0.99
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17. Birmingham U.S.A.
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
3:20 $0.99
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18. Ja-Da (Take 2)
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:45 $0.99
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19. Take the a-Train
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
3:10 $0.99
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20. Out of This World
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
1:48 $0.99
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21. Mister Tambourine Man
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
5:14 $0.99
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22. Round About
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
4:25 $0.99
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23. Moonlight in Vermont
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:59 $0.99
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24. The Frog, The Fountain, And Aunt Jane
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:24 $0.99
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25. Billie’s Blues
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
3:23 $0.99
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26. Night in Tunisia
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
4:10 $0.99
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27. My Favorite Things
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
3:22 $0.99
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28. Blue Monk
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
4:44 $0.99
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29. Lonely Woman
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
4:53 $0.99
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30. Caravan (Take 2)
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:12 $0.99
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31. The Man I Love
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
4:04 $0.99
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32. Something to Live For
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
2:45 $0.99
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33. Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most
Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee
5:48 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
From the moment Ran sets up the piano intro for Misterioso, and Jeanne Lee sings the top note of Monk’s original melody in the key of F, you know this is going to be a journey full of beauty and unexpected turns. Their music is a playground for the ear and a trip to incredible places for all souls alike. They may play a song, or they may choose to play the philosophy of the song. Their ability to create a long story out of a short narrative is extraordinary. It takes fearless imagination and an open mind to interpret the past, present, and future of music the way they do it. The sound they produce together is one of those cosmic combinations that come once in a lifetime. They dance to the lyrics when they play, and there is no attachment to a steady pulse or anything that may close the boundaries of their creativity. Nothing feels ordinary or mundane; every note has a meaning.

One of many epic examples is Green Dolphin Street, which contracts and expands continuously. The key changes are subtle, and the tone and rhythm help create a heroic adventure. Lee sings the lyrics with different tonal qualities, and wide vocal range provides Ran with the space to experiment with his singular chordal textures, the blues, tonalities, and tempo shifts. After Lee introduces the melody in the key of C and Eb in a slow captivating way, Ran picks up the tempo and returns to C major for his first variation with a Latin feel, while using stride piano to keep the story unfolding. Jeanne comes back with the melody in F major and then smoothly shift it to Ab. Ran takes another variation starting in Ab and by the time Jeanne comes back to sing the last chorus she is in B major. The way they end the song is remarkable. Lee sings a C# (the 9 of B major) and Ran answers with the Latin excerpt played before, now in a higher register, creating a parallel universe in C dominant against her note. Then, Lee almost magically shifts from C# to the original key of C, giving a sense of a past resolution, in the present.

Throughout the recordings, Ran and Lee develop material to create alternative realities with a cinematic combination of musicality, sound, and images. His piano comments can create an atmosphere full of surprises, combining imagination with darkness, sweetness, elegance, and humor, without sacrificing the feeling of hope in the music. The musical depth in this recording can only be achieved by two artists who have dedicated their lives to nurturing a sound together. Blake reinvents the popular standard by incorporating influences from films, the Afro-American classical tradition, as well as classical composers. He finds the common tones and connections among many disciplines expanding our minds and ears.

Lee’s deep tone, enchanting voice, and prodigious technique combine with Ran’s unique piano style make the duo sound like an orchestra. Their stories of old friends are challenging, imaginative and eccentric, yet full of love, care, and humanity. They always dance through melodies with devotion and intelligence, and the feeling of their music is always intimate. Ran and Lee rely on their ears to create a unique tonal magnetism, negotiating with the unexpected constantly. This record is a monumental testament of the newest sound you’ve never heard. I want to stay in their realm forever.

Danilo Perez

June 10, 2018

***************

I see them there at the Neptun Hotel in Bergen, Norway, in the spring of 1963 in the middle of their 3-week engagement, room and board and expensive European phone calls all paid for by the venue, and a nice piano available during the day for rehearsals. Maybe Jeanne, in the same calm, unflappable manner in which she sings, is helping Ran locate his misplaced passport. They play a set every night following a jazz trio, and, foreshadowing the huge success of their upcoming engagement at Stockholm’s Golden Circle, the audience is counting on their late set, so much so that owner Gunnar Holm, who otherwise is treating them royally, won’t let them switch sets to catch up on their sleep, even for one night.

Their friendship began when she heard him playing the piano in Bard Hall one afternoon, the best piano on the Bard College campus, where they were both freshmen. “You sound like Art Tatum,” she said, and though that wasn’t one of his immediate heroes, he thanked her. I suspect he was interested that she knew enough to make that reference, and she was likely intrigued when she sensed that he was not entirely flattered by the comparison.

In some ways, their relationship began before they met, in a crisscross of people and musical influences that helped them recognize each other in that moment (September 26, 1956 at 3:45, Ran recalls precisely). She grew up in the Bronx, next to Nellie Monk’s sister, Skippy, and later, Skippy’s daughter, Jackie. Thelonious Monk was an important artist for both Ran and Jeanne. (Ran recalls seeing Monk hug Abbey Lincoln at Abbey’s Candid recording session, after she sang her lyrics to “Blue Monk,” recorded again by Ran and Jeanne on this CD.) Jeanne loved Billie Holiday, also a critical artist for Ran, whose repertoire they would cover on their first album. Though their childhoods and backgrounds were quite different, music took on a deep meaning for them both. Despite growing up in a household where there was little interest in music, against all odds, Ran found his way musically and, at one point, ended up playing piano at a Pentecostal church in Hartford, CT. Jeanne’s father was a concert and church singer and Jeanne heard the music of Paul Robeson and Marian Anderson around the house from an early age.

When they met that day, I wonder if they had a glimpse, not only of what they shared in their pasts, but of the future they would forge together, filled with devoted and larger-than-life benefactors such as Dorothy Wallace and the Countess Florence de Lannoy, a flat at 507 West 113th Street where Ran rented a room from Amelia Lehrfield and where Jeanne, George Russell and gospel pianist/singer Sister Tee of the Sweet Daddy Grace Church were regular guests and introduced the proprietress to wine and the music of the Modern Jazz Quartet. A future that included winning first prizes (though never four in a row, the required number to secure a weeklong engagement there) at the Apollo Theater, overseen by tap dancer Honi Coles, a subsequent tour to Europe at the behest of German impresario Joachim Berendt, a groundbreaking record produced by George Avakian for RCA, and a deep friendship and musical collaboration that lasted decades. My sense is that they must have at least felt that something was coming, and that is why, as I sat with Ran to discuss this new release on an afternoon in May of 2018, the names, dates and significance of all these people and events remained crystal clear.

In the fall of 1966, Ran and Jeanne returned to Europe and in 1966 and 1967 they recorded the music on this release, thanks to the vision of Elias Gistelinck. Hearing these recordings after knowing their previous work so well creates a sensation similar to that of dreaming you have found an extra room in your house: It is at once familiar and otherworldly. The repertoire is similar to some on previous recordings, but there are also notable differences, including forays into Dylan and Lennon and McCartney, both suggested by Ran. They cover Charlie Parker with lyrics by King Pleasure, a vocalese on “Night in Tunisia,” recorded by Frank Minion (’58) and Eddie Jefferson (’61), both brought by Jeanne. They swing a mutually loved signature piece by Ray Charles with emphatic joy, find familiar territory in standards by Ellington, Strayhorn, and Porter, and return to the Jackie and Roy songbook for a spare reading of “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.” They address current political issues in an unflinching reading of Julian Priester’s “Retribution” with lyrics by Abbey Lincoln, and in Blake’s “Birmingham,” and make minimalist wordplay out of the 1918 nonsensical hit, “Ja-da,” and Gertrude Stein’s poetry fit to Monk’s “Misterioso.”

Alone and together, their sense of mood, atmosphere, and conviction to the truthful unfolding of each story is unparalleled. Jeanne sings with a wisdom and intimacy that brings her close to the listener while she keeps one keen and optimistic eye on the distant horizon. She is remarkably poised and deliberate melodically, rhythmically and emotionally, even as Ran responds and adapts, lags behind or scouts ahead, fracturing and remolding the terrain underfoot in a way no other pianist can. They stay deeply connected through tempo and feel changes, reharmonizations, dynamic and textural shifts and unexpected modulations. From the moment of their first meeting, these two musicians dedicated themselves to playing together, rehearsing not just for the next gig, but in order to form the bond that allows this freedom and exchange between their kindred spirits, creating a unique sound that we lucky listeners get to enjoy now, again and anew, on the newest sound we never heard.

Dominique Eade

May 18, 2018

Ran Blake and Jeanne Lee

The Newest Sound You Never Heard

2019 (A-Side Records, 0005)



CD 1: 1966


1. Misterioso Thelonious Monk/ Lyrics by Gertrude Stein 3:06
2. Honeysuckle Rose (solo Ran) Fats Waller/ Lyrics by Andy Razaf 3:10
3. Green Dolphin St. Bronisław Kaper/ Lyrics by Ned Washington 4:32
4. A Hard Day's Night John Lennon & Paul McCartney 2:15
5. I Can't Give You Anything but Love Jimmy McHugh/ Lyrics by Dorothy Fields 2:46
6. Hallelujah, I love Him So Ray Charles 1:55
7. Night and Day Cole Porter 5:41
8. Ja-Da (take 1) Bob Carleton 1:42
9. Something's Coming Leonard Bernstein/ Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim 4:35
10. Just Squeeze Me Duke Ellington/ Lyrics by Lee Gaines 2:51
11. God’s Image (solo Ran) traditional 2:15
12. Retribution Julian Priester/ Lyrics by Abbey Lincoln 2:22
13. Smoke After Smoke (solo Ran) Ran Blake 2:04
14. Parker’s Mood Charlie Parker/ Lyrics by King Pleasure 4:13
15. Caravan Juan Tizol & Duke Ellington/ Lyrics by Irving Mills 2:21
16. Beautiful City Stephen Schwartz 2:37
17. Birmingham U.S.A. Ran Blake 3:20
18. Ja-Da (take 2) Bob Carleton 2:45
19. Take the A-Train Billy Strayhorn/ Lyrics by Joya Sherrill 3:10



CD 2: 1967


1. Out of This World Harold Arlen/ Lyrics by Johnny Mercer 1:48
2. Mister Tambourine Man Bob Dylan 5:14
3. Round About Vernon Duke 4:25
4. Moonlight in Vermont Karl Suessdorf/ Lyrics by John Blackburn 2:59
5. The Frog, The Fountain, and Aunt Jane (solo Ran) Ran Blake 2:56
6. Billie’s Blues (solo Jeanne) Billie Holiday 3:23
7. Night in Tunisia Dizzy Gillespie/ Lyrics by Frank Minion & Eddie Jefferson 4:10
8. My Favorite Things Richard Rodgers/ Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein & Jeanne Lee 3:22
9. Blue Monk Thelonious Monk/ Lyrics by Abbey Lincoln 4:44
10. Lonely Woman Ornette Coleman/ Lyrics by Margo Guryan & Gunther Schuller 4:53
11. Caravan Juan Tizol & Duke Ellington/ lyrics by Irving Mills 2:12
12. The Man I Love George Gershwin/ Lyrics by Ira Gershwin 4:04
13. Something to Live For Billy Strayhorn 2:45
14. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most Tommy Wolf/ Lyrics by Fran Landesman 5:48



Thanks so much from the bottom of my heart to The Lee Family: Cavana Lee-Hampel, Gunter Hampel, Naima Hazelton, and Ruomi Hampel for all their support and warmth throughout the process of having this album come to fruition.

Warm Thanks to by friends and colleagues who wrote terrific liner notes, Dominique Eade, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, and Danilo Perez. It’s a great honor to have their thoughts included on this historic record.

Special thanks to my friends around the world who made this album possible and were great friends to Jeanne Lee and I throughout the years: Aaron Hartley, Rob Leurentop, Eli Kessler, Tony Kellers, Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (VRT) and the folks at VRT, Jull Anthonissen, Johan Favoreel, Christine Fettweis, Paul Demeulder, Quida Dou-Dou (and her niece),Jacques Berkaert, Florent and Francoise Crommelynck, Elias Gistelinck, Comte Leopold and Comtesse, Marnix Guillaume, Paul and Mariette Roland, Barbara Belgrave and Ernest Stapel, Joanna Bruzdowicz, Catherine and Freddy Ballé, Constance, Minthia, Rose (Kervyn), and Florence de Lannoy, Hugo De Craen, David Linx, Larry Ruttman, Doug Wolf of Wolf and Greenfield Intellectual Property Law, David Herlihy Intellectual Property Law, Anderson Duff of Revision Legal Intellectual Property Law, Alice Russell, Jason Moran, Gardiner Hartmann, David “Knife” Fabris, John Campopiano, New England Conservatory (Boston, MA), Steve Mardon, Allan Chase, and Jeroen Slaets



CD1, 1966

October, 21st 1966

Jazzpanorama XVI

Studio 1, Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (VRT)

Producer, Elias Gistelinck

Producer, Paul Van Dessel

Compilation Producer, Aaron Hartley

Recording Engineer, unknown

Master Engineer, unknown



CD1, 1967

Date, unknown

Recorded by Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (VRT), but location unknown

Producer, Elias Gistelinck

Producer, Paul Van Dessel

Compilation Producer, Aaron Hartley

Recording Engineer, unknown

Master Engineer, unknown



Artwork, Tony Kellers

Art, Ran Blake





Lyrics/ Poems

I Am Rose
by Gertrude Stein

(Used in Misterioso, CD1: 1966, Track 1)

I am Rose my eyes are blue
I am Rose and who are you?
I am Rose and when I sing
I am Rose like anything.



My Favorite Things

by Richard Rodgers and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein

Lyric Verse by Jeanne Lee



(Used in Misterioso, CD2: 1967, Track 8)

Breathing the salt air

The comes from the ocean

Watching the sunlight on horses in motion

Just before sunrise when birds start to sing

Read more...

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