There aren't a whole lot of occasions to hear Lee Konitz's '50s-era telltale alto saxophone. So this 1956 date, which couples Konitz with Warne Marsh on tenor sax, is a great window on theLennie Tristanoschool of improvisation. The melodies are all cushioned … see full wiki
.... just as the cover photos shows. This is playful, jump-for-joy jazz, in the mood that went underground for most of the Bebop era. Alto sax Lee Konitz and tenor sax Warne Marsh were invariably, throughout their careers, identified as disciples of Lenny Tristano, which they were, and therefore as cool-jazz unemotional players, which they certainly weren't. Energy and exuberance are emotions also. Both Konitz and Marsh had learned their melodic licks from Charlie Parker as much as their sense of tonality and structure from Tristano. Honestly, on this CD, the Parker influence predominates, but it's a fresh-air warm-humored version of Parker. Technically, these two musicians took gold and silver for "chops" among the saxophonists of their generation. That's what you'll hear on this 1956 LP re-release: extraordinarily vibrant but smoothly controlled melodic playing.
The combo of two saxes always seems to me to be the hottest sound in jazz, especially when the saxes are backed up by a discreet but creative rhythm section -- on this performance, Kenny Clarke on drums, Oscar Pettiford on bass, Billy Bauer on guitar -- and a pianist with harmonic insight. The piano work by Sal Mosca on four of the eight tracks on this CD is tristanoesque tasty.
Perhaps Marsh and Konitz were "musicians' musicians" in comparison to raucously emotive jazzmen like Albert Ayler and John Coltrane. But hey, it's okay to appreciate both.
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