5/14/08

The Music of Lennie Tristano/Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh


If you've never heard the music of Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz or Warne before, then you have missed out on hearing some of the most interesting and unique compositions to come out of the Bebop era. This Saturday night at the Cave you will have an opportunity to experience this incredible and unpredictable music.

While Bird and Dizzy were shaking up the world with their fiery and blustery Be-Bop, Tristano was on the periphery of the Jazz scene crafting, teaching and performing his own groundbreaking style of Be-Bop. His star pupils, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh, went on to become two of the most interesting and unique (if not widely recognized) Jazz saxophonists of the last 50 years.

I'd have to say that this is the most challenging and interesting material that I've played in years. I just saw the Cave for the first time today and it's by far the hippest Jazz room in PDX.

David Valdez- alto saxophone
Tim Wilcox- tenor Saxophone
Dan Gaynor- Piano/arranger
Bill Athens- bass
Alan Jones- drums

Saturday, May 17 at 8:00pm

all ages are welcome and encouraged until 9:30pm
($5 cover charge at the door )


THE CAVE atmosphere blends the dim under ground funky sophistication of a fifties European Jazz club, the creative bohemian vibe of the legendary Village Vanguard in NYC, and the Oriental feel of a Persian cafe.

The Cave is an environment where inspired world-class musicians can experiment and develop their art...an environment that encourages original composition, creative project ideas, young emerging artists, and fresh new combinations of veteran players.

Excellent handcrafted Persian food and appetizers can be ordered off the Green Onion menu or from the buffet in the restaurant, with plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans.

And of special note, there is a meticulously selected wine list featuring varieties that not only pair perfectly with the Persian cuisine, but also are among the most interesting and exciting wines available for the price.

Find The Cave at the Green Onion:

636 SW Jackson St (at the corner of Broadway in the PSU neighborhood).

Free parking after 7pm, across Broadway from The Cave in the metered slots in front of the tennis courts. Also, 2 blocks from The Cave in PSU parking structure (enter on Broadway or on 6th Ave between Harrison and Hall).

For more info and a complete schedule of performances CONTACT:
Alan Jones – (503) 333-5197 www.alanjonesmusic.com the Green Onion - (503) 274-4294


_________________________________________________________________

"Lennie Tristano (1919-1978) was a jazz pianist and teacher of jazz improvisation, who emerged as an original voice in the New York jazz scene in the 1940s. An uncompromising individualist, he transgressed the boundaries of jazz as well as conventional style categories of jazz history through a succession of innovations, exploring musical means that were considered avant-garde, evidenced by the 1949 recordings of free group improvisations, which predate the free jazz movement by a decade, his ground-breaking use of multi-tracking in the 1950s, and the intensified use of polyrhythm and chromaticism in the 1960s."
____________________________________________________________________

Lennie Tristano occupies a rare position not only in jazz history but in the history of twentieth-century music. Emerging from an era when modernism was the guiding principle in art, Tristano explored musical avenues that were avant-garde even by modernism's experimental standards. In so doing, he tested and transcended the boundaries of jazz.

In 1949, years before musicians such as Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor took credit for the movement, Tristano made the first recordings of "free jazz," a new kind of group improvisation based on spontaneous interaction among band members without any regard for predetermined form, harmony, or rhythm. Then, in the 1950s, Tristano broke new ground by his use of multitracking.

Tristano was also a pioneer in the teaching of jazz, devoting the latter part of his career almost exclusively to music instruction. He founded a jazz school---the first of its kind---among whose students were saxophonists Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz and pianist Sal Mosca."


A pianist of exceptional co-ordination and skill, for whom playing in different metres with each hand held no terrors, Lennie Tristano overcame blindness to become one of the leading teachers in jazz. While he was studying for his music degree in Chicago in the early 1940s, he had already begun playing and working with a circle of musicians who became his pupils - including saxophonist Lee Konitz and guitarist Billy Bauer.

Tristano mastered the bebop style, playing both intricate runs and sustained chordal passages, and by the late 1940s was working in New York, where he made some significant discs with the musicians who had developed bebop - notably Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. But his own musical direction involved exploring ideas of both freedom and abstraction, together with a 'cool' atmosphere.

He formed a sextet, that included some of his former pupils and tenorist Warne Marsh, and their work paralleled much of the experimentation of Gil Evans and Miles Davis. In the early 1950s, Tristano opened his own jazz school, and for the rest of his life he focussed on teaching rather than playing.

His pupils included many significant figures in jazz, all of whom benefited from his rigorous analysis of classic jazz performances, and the scalar and harmonic exercises he developed. He appeared in public from time to time in the 1960s but his best playing on record dates from the late 1940s, when his blend of innovation and technical perfection was at its height.

Tristano maintained a teaching regimen in the early ‘60’s, yet his performances were very few, he did a tour of Europe in 1965, and his last US appearance was 1968. He continued with his teaching until his death in 1978.

Lennie Tristano is an enigma in jazz, though he is not for every listener, his pioneering efforts in the forefront of the free jazz movement speak for themselves. Maybe because of his isolated sense of cerebral perception, he has not received his proper recognition, nonetheless, an innovative jazz pianist.

1 comment:

Jakub said...

...looking forward to hear some sound clips :-)...