Pianist and composer Ran Blake is the 2020 recipient of the Boston Jazz Hero award from the Jazz Journalists Association. Blake, a member of Local 802 (New York City), is one of 27 jazz heroes in 23 cities across the country chosen as “activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz.”
The Jazz Journalists Association, in partnership with New England Conservatory (NEC) where Blake has taught for 52 years, presented the award to Blake during a virtual event at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 23. The event also included a solo piano performance by Blake and a short interview by veteran jazz writer and JJA board member Bob Blumenthal.
“As founding chair of the Third Stream/Contemporary Improvisation program, Ran’s impact on the curriculum and culture of NEC has been transformative,” said NEC President Andrea Kalyn. “But his full influence reaches far beyond, reflected in the work of generations of musicians who—under Ran’s guidance—were given both the tools and the freedom to develop their own individual artistry. He is a true musical hero, and we extend our warmest congratulations on this most fitting honor.”