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A decent bio you'd might like

Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 5:03 pm
by benny_bird
Lennie Tristano - the uncompromising individualist.
By Bjørn Vidar Solli

Few artists in the history of jazz have been as innovative as Lennie Tristano. The pianist, teacher and overall experimentalist pushed the boundaries of jazz throughout his career. And as influential as he was, he has been largely overlooked, in his own time as well as in a historical perspective.
There are many misconceptions regarding Tristano and his music, such as misleadingly being labeled a »cool» jazz musician; and one will often hear his music being described as »cold», »unemotional» and »intellectual». Which is really a matter of opinion, but contrary to Tristano’s intentions, for seldom has a musician articulated such emphasis on »feeling» as Tristano. There is a small group of records documenting Tristano’s musical achievements. Most of the recordings mentioned below are available on CD for the listeners to make their own opinions.

This will serve an introduction to Tristano’s music, philosophy and teaching.

LennieTristano was born in Chicago on March 19th, 1919, to Mama Rose nèe Milano and Michael Tristano. He had a weak sight from birth due to glaucoma, and eventually became totally blind at the age of 10. He attended a school for the blind from 1928 to 1938. As a youngster he played, besides the piano, cello, clarinet, alto- and tenor sax, four string guitar, trumpet and drums. He later enrolled at the American Conservatory of Music, where he got his Bachelor of Music degree in just three years (as opposed to the regular 4 years). Tristano had a short list of musicians, who he thought were responsible for the development of jazz. His list of influences comprised of Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Roy Eldridge, Lester Young, Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker and Bud Powell. (Later on these artists served as the core material in his teaching.) After finishing his education, he was playing gigs around Chicago and soon started to teach privately. Among his students was the 17-year-old Lee Konitz. And it was around this time, in 1945, that Tristano made his first recordings. He recorded four solo piano pieces, all of them based on standards. On neither of them the melody is stated, which is the way Tristano usually treated standards. The one that stands out is his version of »What is this thing called love?» reshaped and renamed »This is called love». Here he makes an unorthodox role reversal of the hands. While the right hand lays down the chords, the left hand improvises. Tristano also made another recording that year. A session with the Emmett Carls Sextet, for whom Tristano also did the arrangements, produces seven sides. Among these were renditions of »Tea for two» and »These foolish things». This is a rare glimpse of Tristano the arranger. (Both of these sessions from 1945 are to be found on CD, on a French label called Masters of Jazz, MJCD 155).
In 1946 Tristano started being noticed and appeared in the Metronome All Star Poll, in 14th place. And in late spring he was hired to write some arrangements for the Woody Herman band. In the band was guitarist Billy Bauer, with whom Tristano later would form his legendary trio. Also in the Woody Herman band, was bassist Chubby Jackson, who had recorded with Tristano on the Emmett Carls session. Jackson played a key role in Tristano’s move to New York later on, and was also instrumental in assembling the members of Tristano’s future trio. So later that summer, Tristano moved along with his wife Judy, to New York. Here the trio was formed, with Billy Bauer on guitar and Arnold Fishkin on bass. As in his first recording, Tristano avoided stating the melody, and rather go straight into improvising on the changes of the tune. The trio did not last long. They broke up in September due to a cancellation of an envisioned tour, and Fishkin left to join the Charlie Barnet band. Tristano and Bauer stayed together and had numerous replacements for Fishkin. They made two V-discs with Leonard Gaskin on bass, before doing two longer sessions for the Keynote label. The Keynote recordings were the first important recordings for Tristano. The first session, with Clyde Lombardi on bass, produced 15 tunes (all of which are found on the aforementioned Masters of Jazz CD). At the second session the following year, with Bob Leininger on bass, three Tristano originals were recorded (both sessions are available on MERCURY 830 921-2). The recording was well received by the critics, and was voted »Album of the month» in Metronome magazine.
Tristano was very outspoken critic throughout his career. He wrote several articles on his dismay of different trends in the jazz community. In one of his articles in Metronome, he criticizes all the people who imitated Dizzie Gillespie and the other founders of the bop idiom.
Later on in 1947 Tristano met Charlie Parker and got to play with him in Barry Ulanov’s All Star Modern Jazz Musicians. Among the others in the band were Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown and Max Roach.
Tristano made a few recordings that year. One solo date for RCA Victor, and later a trio date for Savoy, this time with Lou Levy on bass. Also a session with the Bill Harris All Stars produced five numbers released on Jazz Showcase.
After writing several letters, Tristano finally persuaded Fishkin to return to New York and rejoin the trio. As Tristano’s public acceptance was on the rise, the outlook for work was good. So they commenced their playing in different clubs before once again entering the studio. The record company was Disc and this time half the session was as a quartet, with John La Porta on clarinet.
Tristano made one more recording as a trio that year, before the recording ban of 1948. They recorded one blues for the Folkways label.
Shortly after Tristano had moved to New York he resumed his teaching, and taking on increasingly more students.
1948 was a relatively inactive year for Tristano as a performer. Most of his time was devoted to his teaching and the rehearsal of his new band. He expanded his existing trio, first to a quintet with alto sax and drums added.
This year he was ranked second in the piano category and named one of »the influences of the year» in Metronome magazine. He then became a member of the All-Star band, with which he recorded two tunes for RCA Victor. Among the tunes was his own composition entitled »Victory Ball». It was played by a small group composed of, among others, Gillespie, Parker, Buddy De Franco and Charlie Ventura. It received a favorable review in Down Beat.
Soon after, Tristano’s quintet made it’s first recording. Now with Lee Konitz on alto and Shelly Manne on drums, they recorded five tunes, among them was »Subconscious-Lee» by Konitz (this was actually an assignment written for a lesson with Tristano). These recordings appeared on Koniz’ excellent solo debut on Prestige (OJCCD 186-2).
The band grew into a sextet when another of Tristano’s students, Warne Marsh, joined them. They started working clubs and recorded their first album on two sessions later that spring. The first session was with Harold Granowsky on drums, while the second he was replaced with Denzil Best. The second session is of particular importance, since it produced the first examples of free jazz. This was freely improvised playing without anything besides the instrument entry discussed beforehand. The improvisation was based on a spontaneous interaction between the players with no regard to predetermined form, rhythm or harmony. The free group improvisations were aptly named »Intuition» and »Digression», and predated the free-jazz movement by a decade. This was something the band had been working on for a while, in rehearsal and on stage. The record company Capitol refused to issue the two free numbers, they even refused to pay Tristano for them. And did not release them until late 1950 (»Digression» finally came out 1954). Opinions varied greatly among musicians, critics and the public at large. However, there was one critic that was ecstatic about the recordings and gave them much attention. It was Barry Ulanov, who ever since the Chicago days had regularly expressed his enthusiasm for Tristano in his writings for Metronome.
The sextet played at the newly opened Birdland in 1949. One of the nights were captured on tape and released on Tristano’s own label Jazz Records (JR-1 CD). During their engagement they regularly performed free improvisations, as well as contrapunctional Bach inventions and fuges. The latter was recorded by Billy Bauer around 1950 and can be heard on another Jazz Records release, »Wow» (JR-9 CD). Throughout 1950, Birdland was the sextet’s most frequented venue. Joel Shulman had replaced Fishkin at this point, and Jeff Morton was the new drummer. The band, which now had relatively stable personnel, also had an appearance at Carnegie Hall that Christmas, and was recorded.
In 1950 Tristano was voted the top pianist in the Metronome poll for the first time. And once again the winners of each category assembled in the All Star Band, making two recordings for Columbia. Tristano also came in third in the arranger category as a result of his writing for last year’s All Star band. This time he wrote and arranged another tune, »No Figs».
Bauer left the group in 1951 to work as a studio musician at NBC. The ever-changing rhythm section now included Roy Haynes on drums and Buddy Jones on bass. But they were soon to be replaced. Among the different drummers that passed through the band, was Max Roach, with whom the Tristano group appeared at Birdland. Here they were also joined by Willie Dennis on trombone, who was one of Tristano’s students.
They were often criticized for lack of interaction with the rhythm section. And here is one of the reasons why there were such an unstable personal in Tristano’ groups. He didn’t like the bombastic be-bop drummers, who would come in the way of the soloist. He would rather have the rhythm section lay down the groove and play over it and against it. It is great to hear how his rhythmic complexity comes to full effect when played against the 4/4 beat of the drums and bass, without them following up and going in his way.
In 1951 a major event in Tristano’s career took place. It was the opening of his studio in New York City and the founding of his record company Jazz Records. The studio was used for teaching and recording. Tristano taught mainly himself, but used fellow musicians/students as Konitz, Marsh, Sal Mosca and Billy Bauer as faculty on occasion. The first sides to be recorded there were »Pastime» and »Ju-Ju» with Peter Ind on bass and Roy Haynes on drums. These are some of the earliest experiments with overdubbed recording in the jazz genre. A second piano track was dubbed over the pre-recorded piano trio track. Once again predating other’s experiments by more than a decade. Charles Mingus, who performed and studied with Tristano, recorded the first session for his own label Debut in the studio. The loft where the studio was located also functioned as a jam spot for Tristano and his students. But also famous musicians like Parker, Roach and Mingus visited the jams. There exists a trio recording of two tunes from a private session with Tristano, Parker and Roach (the latter playing a stack of old newspapers).
By 1952 Tristano’s name was starting to drop in the polls, and he only performed sporadically with his band. Most of his time was spent in the studio. One of the concerts took place in Toronto, Canada, where they appeared as a quintet. The performance was recorded and later released on Jazz Records (JR-5CD).
Not long after the Toronto appearance Konitz left the group, mostly for economic reasons, to join the Stan Kenton band. Marsh stayed with Tristano’s band, now a quartet with Peter Ind on bass and Roy Haynes on drums.
The quartet performed very seldom throughout 1953. Among the few was a benefit concert at Birdland, which Tristano had arranged for his student Ronnie Ball who had become ill. However, Tristano made an important recording that year. With the use of overdubbing, he recorded several free improvised piano tracks on top of each other, building a completely different sound scape. The piece was called »Descent into the Maelstrom» and based on the tale by Edgar Allan Poe by the same name.
In 1954 Tristano’s public appearances were few and far between. One of them was at the first ever Newport Jazz festival. But he was overall negative to the jazz festivals, finding them too commercial and too much like show business.
In 1955 Tristano made his first record for Atlantic titled simply »Lennie Tristano» (RHINO 8122-71595-2). The first side of the record consisted of solo and trio recordings made by the use of multi-tracking. The second side is a live recording of a quartet gig at the Confucius Restaurant, with Konitz on alto, Gene Ramey on bass and Art Taylor on the drums. The multi-tracking sides, which featured two pieces with an overdubbed piano on a pre-recorded comp (bass and drums), and two pieces with several piano tracks overdubbed, created quite a controversy. The trio numbers, »Line Up» and »Thirty Second», the bass and drums were first recorded. They were then played back at slower speed, the comp thusly sounding pitched down, with the piano improvising over it in the lower register. Then the tape was turned up to the original speed with the piano track now sounding pitched up, i.e. the middle register, and faster. It is not really a fast tempo, so he can hardly be accused of faking something he wasn’t technically equipped to do. But the sound itself is fascinating. The piano gets a bouncy touch and a unique timbre, and there is a great sense of forward motion in the lines.
The piece »Turkish Mambo» is also interesting in how he constructed the underlying vamp. He starts off recording an ostinato in one meter, then another ostinato in yet another meter, and so on. The figures are designed to fit together and create varying sound structures. Over this rhythmic complex foundation an improvised melodic line is recorded.
The third piece using overdubbing is a blues recorded the same night Tristano got the news of Charlie Parker’s death. It is a documentation of Tristano’s reaction to the bad tidings and was appropriately entitled »Requiem». It uses two layers of piano, one with chords and one with melody, and a third layer at the end. The recording also makes use of an echo machine.
The live quartet numbers were Atlantics first attempt at stereo recording, and they recorded the entire evening, now on CD with the box set »The Complete Atlantic Recordings of Tristano, Konitz and Marsh». It displays some of Tristano’s finest playing, with a relatively unlikely rhythm section.
Between 1955 and 1956 Tristano made some trio recordings in his studio with Peter Ind on bass and Tom Weyburn on drums. Here he stretches out on several standards where he often states the melody, as opposed to his earlier practice. It also features two originals and some very nice bass playing. It was released on Jazz Records under the title »Manhattan Studio» (JR-11CD).
1955 was also the year when Tristano’s first marriage broke up, and his wife moved to California along with their son.
In 1956 the building where Tristano’s studio was located was going to be demolished. He had trouble finding another spot for his studio, so he decided to close it down. He then moved to a house in Queens where he turned the attic into a studio. The group of students active at the old studio gradually broke up as many of them moved to California. Throughout the late 1950’s Tristano rarely performed in public. Contrary to most people’s beliefs, Tristano loved to play for an audience. Why he so seldom appeared on stage was mainly due to his discontent with the club scene, and the poor working environment there. He devoted himself to his teaching for the most part, with an occasional engagement at the Half Note, where he had a very flexible deal. They improved the acoustics and brought in a new piano to accommodate Tristano’s wishes. He appeared there for 10 straight weeks with almost as many different bassists in 1958. With Marsh on tenor, Paul Motion on drums and Henry Grimes on bass, four performances were recorded and released on Jazz Records along with a quintet session from 1964 at the same club. This time with Konitz added on alto and a different rhythm section consisting of Sonny Dallas on bass and Nick Stabulas on drums. The record was entitled »Continuity» (JR-6CD), and is one of the best counterargument to anyone who accuses Tristano for being cold, unemotional or lacking intensity.
In 1961 Tristano made his second recording for Atlantic. The album, »The New Tristano» (RHINO 8122-71595-2), is an astonishing display of Tristano’s solo piano work. Here he reaches new heights in linear development and rhythmic complexity. This is a landmark achievement, not only in its searching and stretching musical nature, but also as a testament of Tristano’s utter mastery of his instrument. For the most part the left hand plays a walking bass line, while the right hand plays melodic lines and occasional block chord lines. He plays around and across the barlines and stretches the form of the harmonic progressions (which are mostly standards). The one that perhaps stands out the most is »C Minor Complex» (this piece is strangely absent from the aforementioned CD from RHINO, but is found in the Complete Atlantic Recordings box set). Aside from the fascinating polymetric ideas and intricate lines, it is also intriguing to hear how the two lines interweave, sometimes working in a contrapunctial manner. To avoid any confusion, it is made clear in the liner notes that these are solo piano pieces with no overdubbing or tape-speed adjustments done.
Tristano was highly negative to the free jazz movement in the 1960’s and dismissed it on several grounds. He was against music being politically motivated and didn’t like what he perceived as anger and hostility in the music. Also he disapproved of the chaotic randomness in the music, and was of the opinion that art is never random or accidental. But, most importantly, he saw a tendency among the black musicians to claim ownership of the free improvised music, based on the racial political motives of the movement, and thereby excluding white jazz musicians as contributors. This was probably rooted in him not getting the recognition as the pioneer that he was for free improvisation.
He didn’t think there should be any hysteria or hostility in the jazz idiom, and denounced music that was an expression of the ego. And referred to Freudian psychology on this matter in that he felt that the music should instead flow from the id. He made a clear distinction between emotion and feeling.
Tristano was largely pessimistic about the stylistic evolution of jazz in the 1950’s and ’60’s. He saw retrogression towards the primitive, and found it working against all efforts to legitimize jazz as an art form. Of the few new artists he later recommended to his students, were Freddie Hubbard, Frank Sinatra, Joao Gilberto and Diana Ross.
When the quintet reunited at the 1964 engagement at the Half Note mentioned above, it did not last long. Konitz went off to pursue his own career, and the remaining four stayed together for a while before Marsh moved back to California. They did however perform a concert in Toronto in 1966 with Roger Mancuso on drums.
During this time Tristano recorded some duets with Sonny Dallas along with a metronome. A drum track was overdubbed with his daughter, Carol Tristano on drums, in 1993 and released on Jazz Records (JR10CD) as »Note to Note». Here we find a relaxed Tristano stretching out on some of his favorite standards.
In 1965 he went on a tour of Europe as a solo pianist. There are several recordings of these concerts. The one from Copenhagen is released on Jazz Records (JR12CD) as »Copenhagen Concert». There also exists recordings of Tristano playing in a trio with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on bass and Connie Cay or Alan Dawson on drums released on Philology. The solo date from Paris is found on the »Descent into the maelstrom» album released by East Wind, which also includes Tristano’s last recordings from 1966; a trio with Sonny Dallas and Nick Stabulas recorded two tunes together.
Tristano played in England for the first time in 1968, and paid another visit in 1969. At this stage he was increasingly interested in free improvisation, as evident in some of his playing from his 1965 tour.
In the 1970’s Tristano withdrew completely from public performing. This was mostly due to his increasing health problems. He had constant pains in his eyes and also battled emphysema. Aside from teaching, he was committed to presenting his students to the public. Every week he would invite an audience to his house and present to them some of his students, hoping to further their careers. He later moved the presentations to Carnegie Hall.
Over the years Tristano had an enormous amount of students. His alumni included many, now well known musicians like: Ricie Beirach, JoAnne Brakeen, Sheila Jordan, David Liebman, Marian McPartland, Brit Woodman, Phil Woods, Bud Freeman and Bill Russo among others. Actually he one year had between 400 and 500 students.
So although he wasn’t really out there playing in public very much in the 1960’s and ’70’s, he had a considerable influence on the scene as a teacher. Getting some of his musical philosophy across through his students.
Tristano died on November 18, 1978 of a heart attack brought on by his emphysema. He was 59.
Today his music lives on through many of his students who in turn have become teachers on their own. A recent revival of sorts have most notably come from saxophonist Mark Turner, who has recorded the Tristano tune »317 East 32nd» (»Mark Turner» Warner Bros.) and composed his own tribute to Tristano, »Lennie Groove» (»In this world» Warner Bros.) Also The Lennie Tristano Jazz Foundation was established not long after Tristano’s death. With Connie Crothers as president and several other former students as board members, they continued to present Tristano’s students in concerts. They also got Tristano’s record company up and running again, putting out previously unreleased material for us to enjoy.

Recommended listening:
(Author’s favorites)
- »The Complete Atlantic Recordings of Tristano, Konitz and Marsh» (6 CD box set from Mosaic Records) It includes the entire Confucius-concert.
- »Live in Toronto 1952» (Jazz Records)
- Lennie Tristano and Warne Marsh »Intuition» (Capitol)
- »Continuity» (Jazz Records)
- »Manhattan Studio» (Jazz Records)

Recommended reading:
- Eunmi Shim, »Lennie Tristano (1919-1978): His life, music, and teaching» (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999). This is the most comprehensive work on Tristano to date.

Bjørn Vidar Solli was born in Skien, Norway on August 1, 1979. He is a performing musician with two albums out. He is a graduate of Trondheim Conservatory of Music, Norway, and lives and works out of Oslo, Norway.

Bjørn Vidar Solli -2001-

Re: A decent bio you'd might like

Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 12:04 am
by Guest
benny_bird wrote:Lennie Tristano - the uncompromising individualist.
By Bjørn Vidar Solli

They were then played back at slower speed, the comp thusly sounding pitched down, with the piano improvising over it in the lower register. Then the tape was turned up to the original speed with the piano track now sounding pitched up, i.e. the middle register, and faster. It is not really a fast tempo, so he can hardly be accused of faking something he wasn’t technically equipped to do. But the sound itself is fascinating. The piano gets a bouncy touch and a unique timbre, and there is a great sense of forward motion in the lines.

Bjørn Vidar Solli -2001-

The forward motion or what I call phrasing driven propulsion in those lines is UNEQUALED since those two tracks by ANY pianist playing stretches unaided by electronics. What made those stretches so dramatic was Lennie's crafting of expression, the dynamics or attack of each individual component, each note within those lines. EACH NOTE, has it's own character, it's own separate parameters, something difficult enough to accomplish even at the slower tempo at which Lennie recorded the stretches. Once sped up, a totally different panarama emerged. The lines were imbued with a life and drive GREATER than the sum of their parts AND their whole. Of course, the lines themselves are NOT by any means difficult to play at even greater tempos than the finished product, but Lennie's sense of "instant composition" was BEYOND the lines themselves in these two cases. I'm certain that he HEARD the propulsion itself, controlling the individual dynamic attack and release of each intermediary note as a means of producing those stretches. It simply would have been too arduous for ANYONE to play 200+ note phrases, each note having it's own parametric life, it's own space, crafted to create many single strands of "pearls" at that tempo. It infused piano played lines with the note dynamic control of a WIND instrument. I believe that at some points Lennie might have "touched" the tape while mastering/recording to create a vibrato effect!!!

Re: A decent bio you'd might like

Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 12:14 am
by Guest
O for 2!!! Forgot to sign in!!! The above post was mine (Disciple).

Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 4:51 am
by benny_bird
disciple, were you a student of lennie's?

Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 4:31 pm
by Guest
benny_bird wrote:disciple, were you a student of lennie's?

Yes. On and off for a period of over 10 years. After Lennie passed, I went to see Sal in Mt. Vernon. No disrespect intended but after studying with Lennie, and transcribing/analyzing/playing just about every piece of recorded music by Lennie that I could get my hands on (even ARRANGING some of his pieces for big bands and other ensembles), after three of four sitdowns with Sal, I didn't feel that he had anything new to offer me.
I met with Connie soon after Lennie died and showed her a few of my transcriptions and analytical breakdowns of Lennie's methodogy. Sat down at the piano to play MY transcription of "Carol" for her, to point out the errors in the "Scene and Variation" transcription published by Bauer in the 60s (very difficult to hear 11 to 13 note piano chords accurately, many times, the thumbs and/or the pinkies stretched across/striking 2 or even three keys simultaneously) unless you already have a firm understanding of Lennie's incredibly fluid INNATE sense of true harmonic counterpoint.. in my opinion, an ability that has only been approached by Warne). Carol had been napping upstairs and appeared at the bottom of the steps to see who was playing because she hadn't heard the piece played in many years!

Anyway, I had envisioned a work of transcriptions and analyses that would bring attention to Lennie's relative obscurity at the time...which is hard to believe hasn't improved with time since his passing, unique amongst improvising musicians as he is.
Connie was interested in my material but was concerned that the Ertegren's and others still had the rights to his music. She said something about my receiving "transcription fees". I had gone to her with the idea of a PRACTICAL treatise on Lennie. Lennie's music, broken down to clearly shown basic elements, using the music transcriptions as examples for anyne interested in realizing Lennie's approach and treatment of his music. I approached this project with the same attention to detail as I had approached a recent 200+ page Master's project analysis of Music for Percussion, Strings, and Celeste by Bartok, a piece based on the motivic propogation of the Fibonacci series. This was to be for begining AND advanced players and included many cross references from Warne's, Lee's, and even Billy's stretches showing identical harmonic, rhythmic treatment of linear materials.

Carol said something about, "You can't break down Lennie's music like that", but was very interested nonetheless in the transcripts. I wasn't interested in selling transcripts and that was the last time I saw Connie, a great player in her own right, approx. 25 years ago!

The whole school was too cult-like. Too mystical. They all even sounded like Lennie when they talked! Sal was the King of mystical. I asked him once something about the phrasing structure of a particular stretch and if he thought Lennie could have possibly been hearing a specific metric patterning after playing the same line two different ways with a different approach to accents and he answered me, "You can burn down an entire forest with one tiny match". That did it for me as far as Sal was concerned!

ANYONE'S music can be analyzed, copied, played to such an extent that one begins to HEAR that way himself. The trick is NOT LOSING YOURSELF within that framework.

Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 6:33 pm
by Guest
Thanks for the reply! this is fascinating! i think it's too bad that your envisioned project never materialized. It would have been a treat for anyone interested in lennie.
through the years i have also studiied lennies music to great depth, having gathered virtually everything released and some things never released. (that's no mean feat when you you're growing up in a provice town in Norway!)
I have always been most fascinated and thrilled by lennies advanced rhythmic concepts (wich i think is the most obvious element in lennies music). I have written down almost every poly-rhythmic or poly-metric grouping/phrase i could find and gotten a good knowledge of this aspect of his music. But, it has been much harder to understand his harmonic concept. Ofcourse i can transcribe stuff and analyze it and sort of understand it as an isolated device, but i have yet to gain a more general understanding of how he thought in terms of harmony (reharmonization and substitutions and the likes).
That's where your writings would be very interesting.
Do you have any plans for it to be published? And have you any thoughts on the matter that you could share?

Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 10:38 pm
by Guest
I'll tell you an interesting story. I was in my late twenties and had been scratching out a meager music teacher's and musician's wages doing record dates, lounges, touring with bands, etc., I'm sure you know the drill. I did OK but often would sit in a well to do friends home with a fireplace going and think to myself, "I'll NEVER be able to afford things like this". One day, ca. 1980/81, I'm doing a record date at a studio around the corner from Radio City, finish up and hit the street on my way home when I heard a tenor sax in the distance. Of course, I'm trying to discern who it is? Which player, which recording, etc. It's solo tenor and at first I'm thinking, "what the? Nat Adderley on TENOR?? No, it's NOT Cannonball". I'm running through all the tenor players that this could be in my mind and drawing a blank..."this is so strange that I can't figure out what recording this is?" I walked down towards the Avenue and as I got closer, "DOLPHY?????". Anyway, I turn the corner and it's LIVE. I had NO idea who he was, even seeing him. A white guy, about 50 to 55, in HOMELESS condition. Matted/dredded hair and beard, a ragged suit and 10 year old Keds, blowing some of the most incredible lines I've EVER heard, without cliche or repetition as effortlessly as if he were sipping lemonade. There was a full bowl of quarters at his feet and he danced as he played, in his own world, oblivious to those around himtrying to communicate with him. I don't even KNOW if that was a good, bad, or mediocre lyrical day for him but I tell you, on that day, for the 10 minutes that I listened to him, he was the greatest musician I had EVER heard. Pick your FAVORITE Warne, Lee, or even Bird stretches. His stretches were their EQUAL, and they came one after the other all in perfect logical sense. Like listening to Line up or 317 for the FIRST time!!!

When he stopped playing and moved on, so did I. I thought to myself, "I think I've seen enough". That's ME in 25 years at the rate in which I'm going running here, running there for PEANUTS. It's time to do something else and keep the music, but lessen its focus below career level. I went into BUSINESS later that year and after my first 6 months in business for myself, bought my first house, CASH!!!!


Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 10:44 pm
by disciple
Bennie, That was my reply to you above!! Forgot to log in. -Disciple

B, Is this IT????? Is this the extent of activity on message boards on the net dedicated to Tristano-school discussion??? I only found one other site where there is actual discussion and only on the subject of Lennie's recordings. Which they are, their availability, his discography, nothing really much about Lennie at all!!!! Tell me there's MORE. There HAS to be more, no?

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:24 am
by Guest
wow, what a story! Well, i'll have to admit that i'm somewhat more of an optimist. I'm confident this will turn out good. Fireplace or no fireplace, i ihink i'll make a decent living (even with my love for expensive gourmet dining).
But,do you have any insight into lennie's harmonic concepts?
Did you discuss that at your lessons?

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:30 am
by Guest
by the way, i believe this is it! It reflects lennies popularity iin the world at large. Well, i'm glad i got it!