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Nameless Sound was established in 2001 to present the best of international contemporary music and to support the exploration of new methods in arts education

Nameless Sound presents concerts by premier artists in the world of creative music. In addition, Nameless Sound artists work directly with students from Houston’s public schools, community centers, and homeless shelters. Nameless Sound’s educational work helps to nurture a new generation of artists and inspire tomorrow’s creative thinkers

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Arts Houston

Nameless Sound


  Ran Blake

under James Turrell's Skyspace at the Live Oak Friends Meeting House

  1318 West 26th St, HOUSTON, TX  77008

  Saturday, January 7, 2017
Doors open at 4:30pm. Concert begins at 5pm (on time) in order to coincide with the sunset and James Turrell's Skyspace.
The second set will be performed with Turrell's Night Piece.

FREE Admission

Ran Blake (Boston, MA) - piano

“Blake has a singular ability to make a single note speak volumes about the human condition, and to turn silence into a withering cry.” – Bill Shoemaker, Jazz Times

Deeply introspective, often starkly expressed and sometimes beautifully austere, Ran Blake possesses one of the truly personal stylistic voices of modern jazz. It’s is a piano music that is unquestionably of the idiom. Yet it defies the easy linear histories that simplify jazz as a succession of heroic musical innovations, and that position artists on a chronology of what is supposedly avant-garde.  

Much of Ran Blake’s unique musical world is constructed from a combination of clear yet seamless inspirations. His deft ear and adroit touch that dovetail blues tonalities and atonalism are likely born from the marriage of early influences such as Bartok, Debussy, Stravinsky, Monk and Ellington. But other influences may be more surprising. Important to Blake is his love of singers like Mahalia Jackson, Al Green and Ray Charles. Far from mere stylistic influences, they are inspirations in the deepest sense, and subjects of study. 

One of Blake’s most important influences is not directly musical. He apparently had a life epiphany at the age of 12, when he saw the film Spiral Staircase. And he watched the thriller 20 times in a three-week period. Of this period, Blake said: “Plots, scenes, and melodic and harmonic surfaces intermingled, obtruding into my day life as well as my dreams.” He began mentally placing himself inside noir films. This, as well as real life scenarios, inspired his first original compositions. The influence of the Pentecostal church music he heard growing up in Suffield, Connecticut, combined with his musical immersion in what he terms “a film noir world” and laid the groundwork for his earliest musical style.

He was formally and informally a student of some of the most impressive names in modern jazz, including Mary Lou Williams, Oscar Peterson, Mal Waldron, Bill Russo and Gunther Schuller. It was Schuller, who brought him on to the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music, the first American conservatory to offer a degree in jazz. There, the future MacArthur “Genius” founded the Contemporary Improvisation Department and developed his pedagogical approach, called “The Primacy of the Ear”. At New England Conservatory he became highly influential himself, mentoring generations of musicians including Matthew Shipp, Don Byron and John Medeski. 

“Here there is jazz per se, and there is music that sounds like Debussy improvising alone at night in a big room, trying to scare himself.” – Ben Ratliff, New York Times

About Ran Blake:

About James Turrell's Skyspace at the Live Oak Friends Meeting House: