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Dot Time Records and Mosaic Records, in partnership for the first time, are thrilled to announce the release of Lennie Tristano Personal Recordings 1946 – 1970. This 6-CD set chronicles over twenty years of stunning creative output from jazz luminary Lennie Tristano offering listeners the most comprehensive portrait of Tristano’s musical genius available.
The Limited Edition Box set includes:
- A six CD set of 74 recordings, the vast majority of which has ever appeared on a record.
- The deluxe box set includes our exclusive booklet with a loving introduction by Carol Tristano
- Liner notes and track-by-track appreciation of Tristano’s music by Lenny Popkin
- Full size booklet with many rare photographs.
- Trio sessions alongside guitarist Billy Bauer and bassist Arnold Fishkin
- Live sextet recordings of Tristano alongside Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh
- A full disc of solo performances where Tristano’s astounding technical facility and deep pathos is on display.
Deeply Moving, Deeply Personal, and Completely Unknown – Until Now.
One of the greatest pleasures we experience at Mosaic is uncovering rare, overlooked gems by acknowledged masters from whom we’ve all believed we’ve heard the last word. Often in scouring the archives for cleaner, better source material we uncover a few unknown recordings, forgotten sessions, or viable alternate takes that are no less fascinating than the selections initially approved for release.
We take great pride in adding to the known canon of work by giants, even when only a few recordings come to light.
So imagine how we feel about our new set, “Lennie Tristano Personal Recordings 1946-1970.” Jerry Roche of Dot Time Records supervised the release of these treasures, selected by Lennie Tristano’s daughter Carol and sonically restored by tenor saxophonist Lenny Popkin.
The recordings come from a trove of material in Tristano’s personal collection — airchecks, remote wire recordings, live dates preserved by his associates on the bandstand, and tracks laid down at Lennie’s East 32nd Street studio in New York. Not originally intended for commercial release, they provide an intimate look at Tristano’s range and his unmistakable approach to jazz.
Tristano is often mis-categorized as a disciple of the “cool” style of jazz, possibly because his approach was so measured, lyrical, and precise in contrast to the jagged energy of bebop. But the breath and depth of his playing stretch far beyond that post World War II genre in both directions.
A student from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, he started making a name for himself in New York in the mid-1940s, even playing alongside Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Max Roach. The beboppers marveled at his exceptional harmonic gifts, his ability at playing long, intricate solo lines, and his unerring virtuosity. He contributed to the music of Parker and Gillespie without slavishly copying their approach.
Tristano was critical of the bebop movement, but his comments could apply to anyone who was a follower and not a leader. “Whether they play drums, saxophone, piano, trombone, or glockenspiel, it still comes out Gillespie,” he wrote.
His belief that music must express something personal led to his decision to start his own school, stressing that playing jazz needs to entail more than learning chord changes and picking an idol to copy. Tristano began focusing on jazz education from a personal studio he established while he was still performing regularly.
That studio (where some of the tracks on this set were recorded) was to be a hub for Tristano for many endeavors – a first-of-its-kind school of jazz for players at all levels, the domain for his recording and publishing companies, a recording studio, and a performance spot. While some of his ambitions went unrealized, his devotion to teaching – as he himself said, the “method and madness” of jazz – pointed to his strong belief that harmony, ear training, composition, and technique were all critical components of a fully formed musician.
As for what genre his belongs to, keep in mind that Tristano was always looking ahead. He is believed to have recorded the first-ever ensemble free jazz compositions, abandoning chord structure and song forms to follow wherever a motif or phrase could lead, stressing listening over playing. He also experimented with overdubbing at a time when that idea was so new that most reviewers had no idea what they were hearing.
While to some ears Tristano sounds remote or mechanical in his long runs of even eighth notes, a more careful listening reveals the playfulness and passion in his approach on piano. There’s a lot of Art Tatum in his soloing, like someone with too many notes in him to fit them all in a bar of music. Despite the intricacy, it never overshadows his ease. His block chords were a major influence on Bill Evans. His drive and power, and his fascination with exploding traditional song formats, inspired Cecil Taylor.
More in one set than was released during his lifetime
This set follows an unusual pattern for a Mosaic release in that it is not presented in chronological order, but rather themed to a style of presentation crossing eras and personnel.
Features Tristano alongside Billy Bauer and Arnold Fishkin. These live trio recordings from 1946/1947 were recorded in Long Island, New York and capture the pure synergy, improvisational acuity and playfulness of this tight-knit ensemble. Right away, one notes Tristano’s incredible feel. “As it is expressed by his playing both as a soloist and playing with others, every note he plays has a personality. Every note is imbued with feeling. In the recordings presented in this set, you will hear that no matter what the tempo, the key, whether he is playing quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes – no matter how fast, each note is distinct. Each note has character,” reflects Popkin.
Features marvelous solo piano recordings of Tristano recorded both at Rudy Van Gelder Studio and at Lennie’s own East 32nd Street studio. The 15 tracks on this disc demonstrate Tristano’s inner world of harmony.
Features live sextet recordings of Tristano alongside Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Billy Bauer, bassists Arnold Fishkin and Joe Shulman, and drummer Jeff Morton. This marks the first recorded performance of a group of jazz musicians performing free jazz in front of an audience in a club. Lennie Tristano’s daughter and co-producer of this album, Carol Tristano indicates that “he embodies that link between free playing and swinging jazz.
The free playing of these four musicians together has, to this day, almost no parallel. It is not random, nor is it instant composing. It is rooted in jazz feeling and being created completely spontaneously in the moment. The result is no experiment! Each piece tells a story and is great music of the highest order. You may find it can remind you of what it’s like to listen to a great composition — but it’s not composed — that’s the magic of it!”
Features Tristano playing straight-ahead jazz with two fantastic trios both with Peter Ind on bass, one with drummer Tom Wayburn, the other with drummer Al Levitt. “The trio sides with Peter Ind, Tom Weyburn and Al Levitt are among my favorites. Lennie with a rhythm section — wowing you with his lyrical prowess, doing that thing that great musicians can do — compelling your ear into a state of pure pleasure! No matter how many times you hear a great solo, it will affect you the same, if not more, every time,” shared Carol.
Contains duos and trios with bassist Sonny Dallas and drummer Nick Stabulas. The duo tracks capture the intentful listening of two friends and musicians eager to create beautiful music together, and the trio tracks demonstrate the rare interplay of three musicians who are connected to each other’s every melodic refrain and harmonic exploration. To quote Popkin,
Begins with a groundbreaking free jazz session from 1948 featuring Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Billy Bauer. The recording predates Tristano’s historic Capitol sides Intuition and Digression as well as iconic free jazz recordings of the late 50’s/early 60’s by other artists that so often receive the acclaim for Tristano’s early innovation.
As with all Mosaic sets, our release is extremely limited. When they are sold out, this music goes back into the vaults, never to be released in this form again. Please don’t miss out on this opportunity to fall under Tristano’s spell.
Palo Alto Days
Sax Of A Kind
Being a co-producer of this monumental set of Lennie Tristano music has been a very intense and rewarding experience. Jerry Roche proposed the idea to us (myself and Lenny Popkin) and to Michael Cuscuna at the beginning of this year. I’d like to thank Michael for embracing the project and Jerry for his vision and steadfast commitment to making this happen.
Putting this music together in this format to present to you, the listener, has been a profound pleasure for me. These discs represent Lennie in all his glory — innovative and beautiful music spanning all the decades of his career.
Lenny Popkin’s superb mastering has given us six thrilling CDs of Lennie Tristano’s music. Each CD presented its own set of challenges. I don’t believe there’s another person who could have accomplished this. As well as his technical expertise as an engineer, it required Lenny’s great ears and profound love for this music. We have him to thank for restoring what at times was literally like a jigsaw puzzle. In particular, his restoration of the trio sets with Billy Bauer and Arnold Fishkin was nothing short of heroic. Working from wire recordings and acetate discs, he has managed to restore the artistic flow and integrity of these recordings. Experiencing this trio in a live setting is wondrous!
Lenny Popkin is already known to many as one of our great jazz tenor saxophonists. In addition to his own creative output, he recorded with Lennie Tristano “The Duo Sessions Dot Time Records) and was part of Lennie’s band in the late ’60’s. I’ve known Lenny for most of my life and I can say unequivocally that his insight and knowledge about Lennie’s music and Lennie’s place on the jazz scene is matchless. You are being treated here to his brilliant and eloquent liner notes.
I would like to share some thoughts of my own about the music.
On Disc VI, I am particularly moved by the musical flow of first hearing Lennie, Lee, Warne and Billy playing free together in 1948 — seamlessly transitioning to Lennie flying free in his trio performances at the Half Note Club in the ’60s. Lennie embodies that link between free playing and swinging jazz. The free playing of these four musicians together has, to this day, almost no parallel. It is not random, nor is it instant composing. It is rooted in jazz feeling and being created completely spontaneously in the moment. The result is no experiment! Each piece tells a story and is great music of the highest order. You may find it can remind you of what it’s like to listen to a great composition — but it’s not composed — that’s the magic of it!
The trio sides with Peter Ind, Tom Weyburn and Al Levitt are among my favorites. Lennie with a rhythm section — wowing you with his lyrical prowess, doing that thing that great musicians can do — compelling your ear into a state of pure pleasure! No matter how many times you hear a great solo, it will affect you the same, if not more, every time.
The duo stretches with Sonny Dallas, along with Lennie’s solo playing from that time have particular meaning for me. They evoke the era that I was growing up in.
The title, Studio Time Medley, comes from one of my brother Bud Tristano’s favorite memories from our childhood. We called it “Studio Time” when Lennie would take us up to his attic studio to hang out. We felt how serious and special it was there, but also how relaxed Lennie was and how deeply he included us in his music feeling. Included in the booklet is a photo I took of him on one such occasion. Bud, my sister, Tania, and I share a dimension of love for our father and his music that is ever present and meaningful to me. — Carol Tristano
LENNIE TRISTANO PERSONAL RECORDINGS 1946-1970 (Mosaic MD6-272)
Trio With Billy Bauer – Live Performances
1.Rhythm (A) 3:22
2. Lennie’s Song (A) 4:12
3. Surrender (A) 3:14
4. Stream Line (A) 2:42
5. Day And Night (A) 3:12
6. Rhapsody (B) 3:16
7. Three For Tea (C) 4:42
8. Streamin’ (C) 7:09
9. Depend On Me (C) 7:19
10. Just Fine (C) 5:59
11. September Rain (D) 4:21
12. Mystery (E) 2:04
13. Under Your Spell (E) 3:19
14. Cosmology (E) 2:34
15. Restoration (F) 2:33
1.Spectrum (G) 1:52
2. New Pennies (H) 5:14
3. Lennie’s Blues (H) 4:18
4. Dusk (H) 2:39
5. These Foolish Things (H) 3:04
6. Tania’s Dance (H) 1:51
7. Call It Love (H) 4:36
8. C Minor Fantasy (H) 1:48
9. No Foolin’ (H) 3:34
10. When Your Lover Has Gone (H) 2:32
(E. A. Swan)
11. Bud Line (H) 1:39
12. Studio Time Medley (H) 4:42
13. Palo Alto Days (H) 2:52
14. Foolish Again (H) 2:17
15. The Avenue (H) 1:43
16) Sonnet (I) 4:35
17) Swing Time (I) 3:26
18) Love Chords (I) 3:57
Sextet – Live Performances
1.Live Free (J) 1:58
2. Sound-Lee (J) 9:47
3. Lennie’s Changes (J) 10:27
4. Ice Cream Konitz (J) 10:03
5. Fishin’ Around (J) 11:15
6. Band Excerpt (K) 5:17
7. You go to my head (L) 4:39
(J. F. Coots-H. Gillespie)
8. Sax of a kind (L) 5:20
(L. Konitz-W. Marsh)
1.Lennie’s Lines (M) 5:36
2. My Melancholy Baby (M) 7:45
3. Oceans Deep (M) 4:04
4. That Trading Feeling (M) 5:48
5. You Go To My Head (M) 6:55
(J. F. Coots-H. Gillespie)
6. London Blues (M) 4:19
7. There Will Never be Another You (M) 5:12
(H. Warren-M. Gordon)
8. Session Wave (N) 5:59
9. Movin’ Along (N) 3:51
10. Trio Lines (N) 7:42
11. Lennie’s Place (N) 6:41
Duos And Trios With Sonny Dallas
1. Duo Days (O) 4:55
2. Dream Sequence (O) 7:09
3. Melancholy Up (O) 5:08
4. Forever Lines (O) 10:18
5. Friends (O) 4:16
6. You Go To My Head (O) 9:45
(J. F. Coots-H. Gillespie)
7. I Should Care (P) 7:18
8. Lennie’s Groove (P) 9:14
1948 Free Session
1. Transformations (Q) 2:30
2. Dialogue (Q) 2:28
3. Digression Expanse (Q) 3:11
4. Pinochle Jump (Q) 2:00
5. Story (Q) 3:12
6. Ensemble Tune (Q) 2:17
7. Formation (Q) 3:30
Live At The Half Note
8. Sonny’s Variation (R) 1:07
9. Swingin’ at the Half Note (R) 8:41
10. Lennie’s Dream (R) 7:09
11. Smilin’ Groove (R) 5:09
12. Mine (R) :51
13. Hudson Street (R) 9:06
14. How Deep is the Ocean (S) 10:41
All tunes by Lennie Tristano, Lifeline Jazz Inc. ASCAP, except where otherwise noted
Personnel listed below.
All material is previously unreleased except for (L)
A: Billy Bauer, guitar; Arnold Fishkin, bass.
White’s Restaurant, Freeport, Long Island, 1946
B: bassist unknown.
Dave Garroway show, NYC, October 26, 1947
C: Billy Bauer, guitar; Arnold Fishkin, bass.
Valley Stream, Long Island, c. 1947
D: Billy Bauer, guitar; Arnold Fishkin, bass
Venue unknown, c. 1947
E: Billy Bauer, guitar, bassist unknown
Bandstand U.S.A. air shots, NYC, August 21, 1948
F: Billy Bauer, guitar, Arnold Fishkin, bass.
NYC, December 23, 1947
G. solo piano
Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, 1952
H. solo piano
Lennie’s studio. Palo Alto Street, Hollis, NY, c. 1962
I. solo piano
Lennie’s studio. Palo Alto Street, Hollis, NY, October 15, 1970
J. Lee Konitz, alto saxophone; Warne Marsh, tenor saxophone; Billy Bauer, guitar; Arnold Fishkin, bass; Jeff Morton, drums.
Orchid Room, 1950
K. Same personnel as J.
Soldier Meyers, 1949-‘50
L. same personnel as above, except Joe Shulman, bass replaces Fishkin.
“Voice Of America” Carnegie Hall, NYC, December 24, 1949
M. Peter Ind, bass; Tom Wayburn, drums
E. 32nd Street Studio, 1956
N. Peter Ind, bass; Al Levitt, drums
E. 32nd Street Studio, mid ’50s
O. Sonny Dallas, bass
Lennie’s studio. Palo Alto Street, Hollis, NY, mid ’60s
P. Sonny Dallas, bass; Nick Stabulas, drums
Lennie’s studio. Palo Alto Street, Hollis, NY, 1966
Q Lee Konitz, alto saxophone, Warne Marsh, tenor saxophone, Billy Bauer, guitar
Lennie’s house, Flushing, NY, 1948
R. Sonny Dallas, bass, Nick Stabulas, drums
The Half Note, NYC, c. 1962
S. Lee Konitz, also saxophone, Zoot Sims, tenor saxophone, Sonny Dallas, bass, Nick Stabulas, drums
The Half Note, NYC, c. 1962
The wire recordings, CD 1, tracks 7-11, CD 3, tracks 1-5, CD 6, tracks 1-7 : recorded by Billy Bauer.
CD 2, track 1 recorded by Rudy Van Gelder
CD 2, tracks 2-15 recorded by Lennie Tristano, tracks 16-18 recorded by Lenny Popkin.
CD 4 and CD 5: Recording engineer: Lennie Tristano.
Produced by Jerry Roche, Carol Tristano, Lenny Popkin
Mastering by Lennie Popkin
Executive Producer: Michael Cuscuna
Sound and Audio Restoration: Lenny Popkin
CDs mastered by Lou Gimenez at The Music Lab, Elmont , NY