Thursday, March 31, 2005

"Hey have you heard the latest Lenny Tristano record, it's out of this world."

The first time I ever heard about Lennie Tristano was in 1982. I had won a copy of the original CATALOG OF COOL from a Chattanooga radio station. It said that “The most cerebral, hence coolest, jazz group was pianist Lennie Tristano's, with sax accompanists Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh.” I didn’t know much about jazz (still don’t) but I figured "Cross Current" would be worth hearing. It was.

Tristano’s records were hard to find. Twenty years later I found a compilation of his 40’s sides on a European budget label. The search was worth it. Tristano did some good stuff. Tristano’s classical training shows on a few songs, there are some standards and some free jazz ten years before Ornette Coleman invented it. Jack Kerouac was a fan. Charles Mingus studied with Tristano in the early fifties and so did Joe Satriani. Ray Manzarek says Tristano’s left hand was a big influence on his playing in the Doors.

*The title quote is from JAILHOUSE ROCK. It’s the line that gets Elvis pissed off at the cocktail party.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Web Counter