One thing about pianist-recomposer Ran Blake: you can depend on him as one of the most active and creative harmonic-pianistic personalities of our age. He takes familiar song material and in many ways recomposes each to suit his wide sensibility. His is a freedom of nuance, a freedom of recreation. If anything that propensity and talent has deepened as he gets older.
You can hear this clearly on the new LP-only release Vilnius Noir (No Business NBLP 45). He is joined for much of the album by guitarist David "Knife" Fabris. The chemistry is excellent between the two, with Mr. Fabris paralleling Mr. Blake but coming from a slightly different melodic world (that more conducive to the guitar), and so there is a kind of creative frisson that you can sense in their interactions.
The Blake solo spots are equally worthy. As usual with Ran Blake's repertoire, you never know what he might transform-improvise around. This time out there are some obscurities, some Ran Blake improvised compositions and the more expected-unexpected songs and compositions, like Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour," Michel Legrand's "Watch What Happens," George Russell's "Stratus funk"--a good mix of familiar and less-familiar.
It's Ran Blake at his best and David Fabris sounding great against Ran's full-backdrop and inimitable direction. Listen by all means. No Business is putting it out in a 500 record edition so get to it before it goes OOP!