Lennie Tristano Personal Recordings 1946 – 1970 (#272 – 6 CDs)


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Lennie Tristano

The Most Comprehensive Portrait
Of Tristano’s Musical Genius

Dot Time Records and Mosaic Records are thrilled to announce the release of
Lennie Tristano Personal Recordings 1946 – 1970
Limited Edition Box Set (6 CDs)

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.

Astonishing  Music

  • A full disc of solo performances where Tristano’s astounding technical facility and deep pathos is on display.
  • A six CD set of 74 recordings, the vast majority of which has never appeared on a record.
  • Trio sessions alongside guitarist Billy Bauer and bassist Arnold Fishkin
  • Live sextet recordings of Tristano alongside Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh

The Mosaic Treatment

  • 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.

Uncategorizable Brilliance

Lennie Tristano is often miscategorized as a progenitor 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 breadth 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.

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 teaching 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 place for musicians to play sessions.

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 instrumental technique were all critical components of a fully formed musician – but all of these elements were to be in the service of personal expression and jazz feeling.

As for what genre his music belongs to, keep in mind that Tristano was always looking ahead. He recorded the first-ever ensemble free jazz, abandoning chord structures and song forms to intuitively follow wherever a motif or phrase could lead, stressing listening over playing. He also used the technique of overdubbing at a time when that idea was so new, and he used it so musically, that most reviewers did not realize what they were hearing.

In his trio of the 1940s, a careful listening reveals the playfulness and passion in his approach to the piano. He has been compared to Art Tatum. Indeed, he has the technique of Tatum and plays with the same panache, but his melodic lines are original and like no other. 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.

In this 6 CD set, you will get to hear Lennie through several decades: From the 1940’s you will hear live performances of his “Keynote” trio featuring Billy Bauer and Arnold Fishkin. From that same decade, you will hear the first recordings of “free Jazz” recorded at a session with Lennie, Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh and Billy Bauer.

From the 1950s, you will hear “Spectrum” – a free solo piano piece – as well as Lennie’s sextet featuring Warne Marsh, Lee Konitz and Billy Bauer in nightclub performances which include a totally free improvisation. Also included are trio recordings created in his 32nd Street studio – beautifully recorded by Lennie himself.

From the 60s, you will hear him in duo sessions with bass player Sonny Dallas – as well as solo recordings from the same era that gave us the music on “The New Tristano” (Atlantic Records). And lastly, from that same decade,
you will get to hear Lennie in a live performance at the Half Note club in New York City – both in trio and with guests Lee Konitz and Zoot Sims sitting in for a moving performance of “How Deep is The Ocean”.


More Music Than Was Released
During His Lifetime

Disc 1
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.

Disc 2
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.

Disc 3
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!”

Disc 4
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.

Disc 5
Contains duos and trios with bassist Sonny Dallas and drummer Nick Stabulas. The duo tracks capture the attentive 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.

Disc 6
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.

Following the free set from 1948 is Lennie in a live performance at the Half Note club in New York City c.1962 – both in trio and with guests Lee Konitz and Zoot Sims sitting in for a moving performance of “How Deep is The Ocean”.

Audio Clips

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!  – Carol Tristano

As with all Mosaic sets, our release is extremely limited.

When they are sold out, this music goes back into the vaults. Please don’t miss out on this opportunity to fall under Tristano’s spell.


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

Solo Piano
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
Thursday Suite:
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
(Lee Konitz)
3. Lennie’s Changes (J) 10:27
4. Ice Cream Konitz (J) 10:03
(Lee Konitz)
5. Fishin’ Around (J) 11:15
(Arnold Fishkin)
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)

Trio Sessions
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
(Irving Berlin)

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