Monday, January 27, 2014

Ran Blake & Jon Hazilla, Kaleidoscope

Ran Blake, avant legend pianist, rarely records with drummers. I am scratching my head to remember one. It's a matter of what he sets out to do I suspect, and the drummer needs to fit in. As it happens he does appreciate Jon Hazilla as the right drummer for his music. He recorded a duet, Kaleidoscope (CIMP 391), with him a little while back and it's out.

Jon is no stranger to Cadence/CIMP, having recorded a number of good things in his own right for the labels. I still have a copy of his first LP and have appreciated him for some time as a sort of "thinking person's drummer". He graduated from New England Conservatory and no doubt initially impressed Ran at that point.

The duo gets an excellent rapport throughout. There are a few solo drum spots interspersed in the progam, most notably "Monk's Drum Dream" where Jon channels Frankie Dunlop's brilliant drum melodics with Monk and extends them even further. Ran counters with a couple of very nice solos of his own.

Beyond that Jon shows you why Ran appreciates his playing. The two really strike it off and Hazilla brings a sensitivity toward Ran's stylistic personality that is nothing if not striking. Maestro Blake comes through as his usual inventive, adventurous self, playing some notable originals (which he hasn't done a great deal of lately) and reworking standards, harmonically, melodically and otherwise, in brilliant ways that give the songs a very original, personal stamp.

In the end we have one beautiful set with Hazilla inspired and seemingly inspiring Ran Blake for some fabulous music. Grab this one!

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