Reviews that mention Lennie Tristano

December 3, 2007

Lennie Tristano, His Life in Music

By Eunmi Shim
University of Michigan Press

By Ken Waxman

Arguably the most undeservedly undervalued jazz figure, pianist Lennie Tristano (1919-1978) made the first recordings of free jazz ensemble playing – in 1949 – pioneered an original current in modern jazz, and taught improvising to hundreds of students. Although criticism of Tristano revolves around his so-called “cold” styling, a good part of Tristano’s neglect can be attributed to the pianist himself, explains Eunmi Shim in this major study of his life and work. MORE

December 3, 2007

Lee Konitz, Conversations on the Improviser's Art

By Andy Hamilton
University of Michigan Press

By Ken Waxman

Definitely the only musician ever to have toured with both Stan Kenton’s lumbering big band of 1952 and played as a special guest with Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz quartet in 1998; American alto saxophonist Lee Konitz epitomizes the questing, peripatetic, improviser.

Yet, as author Andy Hamilton makes clear, Konitz, who turned 80 in 2007, is a diffident sound explorer, who prefers his experimentation within the confines of well-known jazz standards and familiar lines from American popular songs. Through an extensive series of one-on-one interviews with the saxophonist and briefer discussions with 37 of his associates, Hamilton presents an all-around view of the stylist, who has been a professional for 65 years. Considering the interviewees range from the staunchest of mainstreamers – including bassist Rufus Reid and pianist Alan Broadbent – to the most committed experimenters – such as saxophonists John Zorn and Evan Parker – this pinpoints the breadth of Konitz’s work. MORE