Rooster_Ties

Some previously unreleased Lennie Tristano *IS* in the works!! (Now, from StaMford)

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Ok, I’ve spun discs 6 and 3 (in that order). Wanted to get right to both the ‘free’ material, which is also the bulk of the wire recordings too — figured I’d start at the bottom rung of the sound-quality ladder, and work my way up.

The first half of disc 6 — the 1948 ‘free’ session (from wire) — is lovely, if sonically a bit limiting — but the sound is very acceptable, even if it reminds me of the quality of the Charles Ives solo piano recordings (which may have also been recorded on wire).  And the trio recordings that follow are wonderful too (even if recorded a bit ‘hot’).

Disc 3 is wonderful musically, but also a bit of a challenge sonically. Still, the music most certainly comes through, and I had no difficulty filling in the gaps in my mind. The rest of the disc, after the initial wire recording, sounds surprisingly similar in quality (some of it), but is equally impressive musically.

I’ve only skimmed the liners, but they’re pretty good, if a bit colored by the connection and deep affection of the author (whose name is escaping me, as I type this on my phone, waiting for take out from our favorite Ethiopian restaurant in DC, just blocks from our door).

Can’t wait to hear the rest!

EDIT: Listened to the first 20 minutes of disc 1 just now too. The vintage of the recordings (1946) is definitely apparent (I’m being polite), but the music will definitely stand up to repeated spins.

EDIT2: Picking up where I left off with disc 1 — the music is fantastic, and I’m “getting used to” the sound quality.  But, omg, so many lovely left turns, everywhere! The last 1/3rd of this disc is especially nice, and sounds better too.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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My verdict -- I really love this box set, but I also found that Descent into the Maelstrom (East Wind, 1978) was actually a pretty good summary of this Tristano Archive.

The biggest surprise for me is the last tune of Disc 1 -- "Restoration".  This is the one missing unissued tune from recordings in Dec. 23, 1947.  When I was compiling a Tristano disco at jazzdisco.org some years ago, I wonder where it went.  Now here it is!

 

 

 

 

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I’m thru discs 2 & 4 this morning (after 6, 3 yesterday and 1 last night).

The SQ on both of today’s discs is uniformly good. Biggest surprise for me is that the solo piano disc (2) doesn’t have anything even half as wacky as “Descent into the Maelstrom” (the tune), or the sped-up piano things with over dubbing, etc. The very first track (the one recorded at RVG’s studio) might qualify, but it’s barely 2 minutes long. All that said, the music is wonderful! Disc 4 too — great music, if not as adventurous as I might have hoped.

I’m really loving this set so far — and I can definitely see the historic and artistic value in the inclusion of the dicier sounding material (in terms of SQ).

Only disc 5 left to go, this afternoon.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Am thru disc 5 now, the last one (for me).

Discs 4 & 5 are by comparison, are both a bit more staid than all the rest — I’m not as instantly aware that they’re Lennie, stylistically speaking — but upon future, closer inspection, I’m sure more of what makes him ‘him’ will become more apparent to me.

I can now also see the argument for releasing all of this — probably 6 hours worth (I haven’t done the math yet) — all in one unified set.

What I find to be the most exciting parts, are all the ones with the most difficult sourcing in terms of sound quality — but their historic importance is unquestionable.  But people would be screaming to the rafters if they’d only released that material as, let’s say, just a 2cd set (no matter how historically important and wonderful the underlying music).

LIKEWISE, if they’d only released discs 4 & 5 together as a 2cd set, it might have looked more exciting on paper than it actually turned out to be (at least for people like me).

Everything is, to one degree or another, quite good — even if it’s not all uniformly spectacular (I’d say the glass is 75% full). But thank goodness there’s a company still willing to do historic releases like this, and big ones at that (at 6 hrs).

I’m spinning disc 5 again now, and hearing things I didn’t notice the first time around (what I get for doing other things while listening). That this is none other than “Lennie” is certainly more apparent now, than some of my first time through disc 5.

He sure was something special, and well-deserving of a release like this.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Thanks for your reflections on this set, RT.  Mine is supposed to arrive tomorrow... looking forward to spending some time with it this weekend.

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1 hour ago, Rooster_Ties said:

He sure was something special, and well-deserving of a release like this.

Definitely a man out of his time in some ways...what he was dealing with was of, at best, secondary importance to the general flow of the music and its culture of the time.

But that does not mean it lacked validity. Far from it, and the fact that somebody such as Anthony Braxton found it and made use of it, and then others followed suit, speaks volumes.

Let this be a lesson that although "eccentricity" does not excuse flaws (nobody's perfect!), it does equally not equate to invalidity or any other perceived lack of true substance.

It's the individual's job to leave their mark. It's everybody else's job to find it.

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My copy finally arrived just an hour ago.  Grateful for board members' heads-up about the sound--I was prepared for it to be much worse than what I'm hearing so far.  (I mean, it's definitely rough, no doubt.)  I love Lennie's Keynote sides, which match the disc 1 era, and man, he sounds even more adventurous here, to my ears, anyway.  Really looking forward to taking in the rest of this set over the next week or so.  

Still mind-blowing to contemplate that Lennie, Monk and Bud were all on the scene and entering their prime in 1946.  

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Listening to disc 2—the leadoff track, “Spectrum” from 1952 is quite a ride... a lane eventually turned into a superhighway by Cecil Taylor? Twice during the 1961 sides I’ve heard figures that actually remind me of Herbie Nichols a bit. This box is amazing! Trying to think of comparable sudden additions to an artist’s discography... Tristano’s has never been scant, exactly (unlike Hasaan Ibn Ali, whose available material has more than tripled in the past year), but this is quite a haul for his recorded legacy. Treasure trove, best addition in that regard from Mosaic since the Savory set. 

Edited by ghost of miles

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I’m really glad for the logical grouping/programming, by disc — enormously helpful in wrapping my head around all this material. With the added benefit of almost no radical jumps in sound quality either — every disc flows pretty nicely.

I even had the solo piano (2) and duo/trio discs (4 & 5) on all day Thursday while my wife was “at work” in the same room — and she didn’t mind a bit of it — and she really liked the solo-piano disc especially (she also likes the solo-piano disc from the Tristano/Konitz/Marsh Mosaic too). The sound quality of those three discs is uniformly excellent (2, 4 & 5).

I kind of wish they had included a nice ‘group’ photo of Lennie’s entire personal archive of tapes, wires, and — if any — acetates (I think there were a couple tracks here and there with some surface noise). But maybe not at the loss of another photo that they did include (come to think of it).

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Does anyone have contact info for either Carol Tristano or Lenny Popkin?  I’d love to drop them a note, thanking them for sharing all this wonderful music.

EDIT: FWIW, this German Wikipedia link about her (if Google translate is accurate), says Carol and Lenny are married, and have lived in Paris since 2005.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Tristano

>> She is married to Popkin, with whom she has lived in Paris since 2005 and plays in the trio, which also performed in Germany.

(Not sure how to link to it go get it to appear in English — but my phone automatically gave me the option to translate it, so I’ve quoted it here.)

The Wikipedia source note also goes to another German-language link, which my phone is also translating…

https://www.oberland.de/magazin/kultur/lenny-popkin-trio

>> What an elegant tone, what brilliant improvisations by saxophonist and trio leader Lenny Popkin. The world-renowned musician is not only a student of cool jazz developer and pianist Lennie Tristano, he also married his daughter: drummer Carol Tristano.

(No specific mention of Paris though, in the article source.)

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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1 hour ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Does anyone have contact info for either Carol Tristano or Lenny Popkin?  I’d love to drop them a note, thanking them for sharing all this wonderful music.

They both appear to be on Facebook.  You might also try emailing Michael Cuscuna at Mosaic, who could probably give you the info or forward your note.

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5 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

They both appear to be on Facebook.  You might also try emailing Michael Cuscuna at Mosaic, who could probably give you the info or forward your note.

Alas, I’m not on Facebook (never have). BTW, I just edited my post above, with more about them I found online.

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"Rhapsody" is a particularly nice item on Disc 1 - in good sound as well.   It sounds to me like he is working with "I Can't Get Started" here but moves quite far from it in a very unique and beautiful manner.     

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Having got through the set for the first time, the one disc I was the most impressed with was the solo sessions of Disc 2. Sound on Disc 1 was rough. 

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Loving what I've listened to so far (discs 1 and 2) . Sound is very acceptable given the sources. This is a great archival release up there with the Benedetti and Savoury Mosaics.

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2 hours ago, tranemonk said:

Sound on Disc 1 was rough. 

True, but it gets a little better as it goes (and/or I just get more used to it the farther into the disc I get).

I’ll agree that my inclination has been to turn up my nose at the SQ each of the three times I’ve put Disc 1 on — but all three times, by the time the disc was done, I’m glad I stuck with it.

Disc 1 is probably the roughest, SQ-wise — though Disc 3 has its moments too. All the rest is variously good (or very good) to quite acceptable. Even the wire recording of the 1948 free session that starts off Disc 6 isn’t half bad, in terms of the SQ (all things considered).

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