Warne Marsh plays Aebersold

Ever wonder what your favorite players practice?

Do they still play scales and long tones?

Do they play AEBERSOLDS?!?!

Why wouldn't they!

Warne Marsh was a player that it took me many years to fully appreciate. At first I was turned off by his unusual sound and articulation. His 8th note didn't feel swinging to me and I didn't get his lines. I always liked Lee Konitz, but Warne eluded me. Now I think that Warne is one of the greatest tenor players to walk the planet. I appreciate his ultra-dark sound and I hear that he's swinging his ass off in a different way. His lines are complex and amazing, so melodic and lyrical.

Warne is finally being rediscovered by today's younger players. Guys like Mark Turner and Chris Cheek have both been heavily influenced by Warne's concept. Just these two guys alone have in turn influenced a whole new crop of even younger players.

Today I hear kids say that their main influences are Chris Potter, Mark Turner, Seamus Blake, and Chris Cheek. It seems very strange to me that someone would go right to the most recent cats, without first listening to the older masters first, like Trane, Joe Henderson, Warne Marsh, Sonny Rollins and Stitt, ect. Maybe younger players will find their way back to Warne through guys like Mark Turner and Chris Cheek.

My buddy Markos sent me these MP3s of Warne Marsh practicing with an 'All Bird' Aebersold
record. Yes, records, remember those? They were big, flat, round, vinyl disks with grooves on them. You actually put a needle on them to play the music. No, I'm not even kidding! If the record was sharp then you could put pennies on the needle to make it flatter.

Anyway, these MP3s are very interesting because you can hear Warne try different ideas out. On Scrapple he plays the head up in altissimo and it sounds exactly like an alto. His 8th triplets and double time lines are SICK!

Warne was way before his time and I believe that players will eventually catch on to this monster tenor player.

These tracks must have been recorded by Warne or a student in the early 80's, since he passed in 1987. They were included on a CD that came with Warne's biography 'Unsung Cat' (used copies start at $40).

(Photos by Jack Goodwin and George Ziskind)

Scrapple fron the Apple

Warne's MySpace fan site- great videos
Warne Marsh info site


David Carlos Valdez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Carlos Valdez said...

From Warne's info site:


Warne starts his solo about where Lester would be on his 40th chorus.
Warne is way out there already soaring, coasting, everything at lightening speed Lou Levy or Alan Broadbent on piano
cool & telepathic
laying down these complex bebop chords
and Warne is skirting over the top
decorating everything with all the hippest extensions
Nothing is for show, he's not grandstanding Warne is the most unpretentious & unassuming man
you could ever hope to meet

Entirely quiet off the stage
and here he is inventing new melodies
while simultaneously dotting the tops of these chords
playing new songs every five or ten seconds
a geyser of ideas
absolutely lyrical
just burning

We could never figure out
how he could know all those notes
and where to find them
on the tenor saxophone
and at such velocity, and
all at the service of artistry
and beauty
a monumental testament to
the powers of the mind
and the questing improviser

That's one of the interesting things about jazz
is that you can hear a mind thinking
you can hear a brain doing its work
and Warne's brain in the 50th chorus is
circuitry electrified crackling light flashing

We're in Donte's for the second time this week
North Hollywood, 1976, 1977
it's the witching hour
and night after night
Warne has been blasting the socks off these tunes
everything going up in flames
"Lester Leaps In"
"Autumn Leaves"
"Out of Nowhere"
"All the Things You Are"
"Slow Boat to China"
he's taken Lester's message
and he's delivering it to the Gods, himself
on tenor saxophone!
quicksilver luminescence
he's out there with the birds, with Bird himself soaring
completely fluid
the club is full of musicians and hipsters
we're gasping, on the edge of our seats
Warne is blazing
his eyes catatonic, wide-open and focused staring
dead straight ahead intent on his mission
he's in a trance
and he's brought us all along with him
there is nothing unknowable about
where he is and what he is doing
nobody can believe what is happening!
Warne has broke through
to the other side
the glowing light of awe is flooding Donte's
he's Gone, into the stratosphere!
Warne is sheer pure energy
a life force, he is
everything we always knew
jazz could be
burning free improvisation
chorus after chorus
layer upon layer
and somehow out of it all he re-invents
the original melody! it comes popping out
entirely of its own, organically recreated
right before our eyes
the entire club electrifies in a wave of goosebumps
our hair standing on end ecstatic
Warne is perfectly connected to the forces of the universe
and when it's all over

he lights a cigarette

--Mark Weber
[composed 25aug03]

*Donte's jazz club
4269 Lankershim Boulevard
North Hollywood, California
proprietors: Carey & May Leverton

cover charge was $2.50 to sit at a little bistro-like table OR it was FREE if you went to the bar! It was just a small place. Average size for a southern California jazz club -- fit about 120 people comfortably.
All the cats from Johnny Carson would finish their afternoon taping of the show (the musicians in Doc Severinson's tv band) and you'd see them in there all the time -- it was the scene up in the "Valley" over the hill from Hollywood (North
Hollywood was separated by a row of hills, the same hills where the Hollywood Bowl is. At the front door of Dontes was a night blooming jasmine bush about 6 foot tall ( jazz men, get it?) and on warm summer nights Carey would leave the door open and this hugely aromatic jasmine smell would fill the room. Warne died on the stage years later. And Carey died at his desk. I don't know what's there now.

Contributed by Mark Weber.
Albuquerque, New Mexico. February 21, 2005.

Mark Weber said...

Wow, David, thanks for putting my
Warne Marsh poem up on your site.
I wrote that ditty in 2003 in a
flash -- took about 5 minutes
to type it up, BUT twenty years of
thinking about it in my head and
telling the stories about Warne, and
then one day it was ready to be
fixed into a poem. You can hear
me read it live on cd CONNIE CROTHERS LIVE AT THE OUTPOST (New
Artists Records)
Thanks again, you;re the best!
--Mark Weber

joesh said...

Nice posting. I was (am) just listening to Warne's Send Tape album at this minute, great stuff. There's a few bootlegs floating around of Warne at Donte's -if I remember correctly there's one excellent one with Art Pepper and Warne!!

As for the book - which I still don't have a copy of - I don't think that the CD came with the book, or not in Europe at least. Shame really as it would of made a good twofer. I can however really recommend the excellent Out of Nowhere by Marcus Cornelius which is excellent stuff, and very readable.

Thanks for the post and inspiration.