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Bird on Lennie

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Ed Fuqua, Apr 19, 2005.


  1. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Just found this someplace else and thought I'd post it here..

    Charlie Parker said:

    "As for Lennie Tristano, I'd like to go on record as
    saying I endorse his work in every particular.
    They say he's cold. They're wrong.
    He has a big heart and it's in his music. Obviously,
    he also has tremendous technical ability, and, you
    know, he can play anywhere with anybody.
    He's a tremendous musician.
    I call him the great acclimatizor."
     
  2. spc

    spc

    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    Not to be ignorant, but who's Lennie Tristano?
     
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Jeff Bollbach used to study with a protege of Lennie Tristano... maybe he can relay a good story regarding that.
     
  5. estesbass

    estesbass

    Dec 6, 2004
    Nashville, TN
    hey guys,
    i've been reading this forum for awhile, and haven't really posted much before...i guess it's time to start. so, onto the topic of Lennie: I just read "An Unsung Cat", a biography of Warne Marsh, and there is an entire chapter devoted to Lennie, his teachings, quotes, etc... I've been amazed at how advanced and unique this school of players was...i still don't understand why they don't get much attention/praise.
     
  6. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    acclimatizor. I love it.
     
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Cause it's hard to latch onto, they aren't teaching a system (you do A B and C and now you has jazz), they are teaching you to hear with clarity and to actually respond to your musical environment in a personal way. On the scholastic side, it's hard to fit that approach into a semester system, hard to create generic "mile markers", etc. On the playing side, I dunno. To me they are some of the most compelling musicians around. But they don't easily fit into critics categories or "styles". It's kinda like that Bruce Lee thing, "My style is no style". It's deep and people can get kinda freaked out about any kind of intellectual or emotional depth. Somebody had a Ray Brown quote elsewhere here, something along the lines of "the better we play, the fewer people who get it." There's a lot of that going on too.

    And then you got all the misinformation, cats who have an opinion about Lennie and his playing who've never actually spent any time with the music. "Oh, he's too cold, too unemotional" etc. It's kind of telling that the opening of the Kenston Bursalis WHAT JAZZ AM series is that photo of the Metronome All Stars - Bird, Lennie, Arnold Fishkin, Billy Bauer -that was the first thing you saw on screen, keyholed down onto the face of Lennie Tristano. And they NEVER mentioned him in 18 hours of program time.
     
  8. estesbass

    estesbass

    Dec 6, 2004
    Nashville, TN
    yeah ed, i agree with you there...i think you are closest to the truth when you said that people probably just don't get it. they are playing incredibly intellectual music, and that is not everyone's cup of tea (esp. non-musicians). the part i don't understand is why more musicians are not hip to these guys. mark turner is the one of the few musicians i've ever known to mention warne marsh as an influence. its ironic, because alot of the musicians from my generation are getting into soloing motifically, not using licks, rhythmic displacement, etc.. and warne was doing all that back in the 50's. there are even two free songs on tristano's album "intuition", recorded in 1949! talk about being ahead of your time.....
     
  9. Lennie was really something....Bill Evans used to go on and on about Lennie!
     
  10. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    Bastards.

    I wonder when the world will catch up with Lennie's music.....
     
  11. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    London, UK
    interestingly, Anthony Braxton is one of the few people who often mentions Tristiano, Marsh and Koonitz as an influence, although it isn't that apparent in his stye, and is another musician who is often (completely wrongly in my opinion) dismissed as cold and unemotional, again often by people who haven't really listened to him.
     
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I'd think the main reason they're not better known is Lennie had so few disciples compared to Bird and only Konitz has toured and recorded extensively.

    Another factor was repertoire...they were all heavy into reworking standards and didn't contribute a lot of new compositions.
     
  13. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    I could say the same for BACH, people say that all the time - even I used to say it, until one day...............I went, "Oh my God, Brilliant!"
     
  14. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Much to the consternation of some, Miles was quoted as saying that Lennie was the first to record free music.
     
  15. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I'm gonna have to disagree with you on this. Tristano had a huge number of "diciples" and the list of famous jazzers influenced by him is weighty. Lennie also created a significant body of composition. Unfortunately the simplest of this would have made Giant Steps look like Mary had a Little Lamb. Not for the Real book.

    I think two of the biggest obstacles to more widespread acclaim for LT was timing and race. Timing in that Lennie came up at the same time as Bird when Bird was at his most popular.[BTW manysaid LT was Birds favorite pianist]. Lennie was forging a dynamic trail parallel to Charlies every bit as deep and heavy yet completely different. When Bird died he went in such a way that the world could see it as a poetic archetype of the tortured artist. His meteoric life, even aside from the depth of his music was the stuff of legends. Not to take anything away from Charlie because I truly see him in the same band as as Hendrix and Bach[think they let Karen Carpenter sit in?] but Parker's influence at the time went above and beyond even his music, not leaving much room for anything so very different as Lennie's music. Then there's the race card. Who's talking about the magnitude of the influence of race in 50's and 60's jazz? Think there wasn't politics in Jazz? Lennie was notorious for not being P.C. [not the bassist]. I don't believe he was a racist or anything, he was just the last person on earth to blow smoke up anybodies arse. None of this was in lennie's favor regarding widespread appeal. I guess it's a good thing that he seemed like the kind of guy who would probably prefer to go out shaking his fist at the world.
     
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Lee especially wrote as many heads over original harmony as he did over standard changes. But I don't think that you can say that Lennie et al wrote more heads over standard changes than (in particular) Bird and other boppers. Most of Bird's recorded output is new heads over old changes.
     
  17. Jeff's and Eds last posts were as if they were reading my mind.
     
  18. Been listening to a lot of Lee Konitz while riding the train these days. I have several Konitz and Marsh recordings (separately and together) including that sweet Crosscurrents recording with Bill Evans. I need more Tristano. Also, anybody into Connie Crothers, also of the Tristano school (so to speak)?

    I can post a transcription of a Konitz composition (Mimiche) over the changes to Darn That Dream if anyone is interested and can give me advice on the best choice of formats among the limited list permissible on this forum. The *.png format looks OK to me. Can others read and print that one?
     
  19. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Eeeeee, I think we may run into copyright issues for posting a melody (copyrightable material) on a website. If you wanted to transcribe Lee's solo (non-copyrightable) and put that up, that would be cool.

    The only recording of Connie's that I've heard was the one my teacher played on, PERCEPTION. It wasn't quite what I expected. I've done some sessions with her and I'd be happy to talk about them, off the board. She's got a lot of stuff up at the co-op label website, NEW ARTIST RECORDS. Sean Smith was playing with her for awhile and I admire his playing a lot.

    One record that I would like to recommend is the duo record done by Liz Gorill and Charley Krachey. Liz' playing is nothing short of jaw dropping.
     
  20. I hear ya on the copyright issue. The transcription includes everything, start to finish. The head sounds more like an improv than an head, but let's not split hairs (pun) and risk any copyright offenses. Regarding Connie Crothers, it's been a while, but I've been meaning to listen again to my one recording of hers. It's on vinyl so it requires some heavy lifting to flip the side in this digital era. I'll try to post a comment or two when I get there.