Warne Marsh Octet – Live In New York – 1958 – Past Daily Downbeat
Warne Marsh Octet – Loft Session – 821 Sixth Avenue – New York – December 22, 1958 –
Warne Marsh in one of the many unissued performances, club dates and jam sessions that have been floating around the past few years. This one featuring the “all-stars”; Bob Brookmeyer (tb), Zoot Sims (ts), Gerry Mulligan (bar), Dave McKenna (piano), Bill Crow (bass), Nobby Totah (bass), Dick Scott (drums) and of course, Warne Marsh (tenor sax) at the helm.
A bit ragged in spots, but more than interesting from a performance and ensemble perspective. Warne Marsh had a reputation of being a gifted and creative improviser – and collaborating with some of the giants of the Cool School he thrives.
Tutored by Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh was often recorded in the company of other Cool School musicians, and remained one of the most faithful to the Tristano philosophy of improvisation – the faith in the purity of the long line, the avoidance of licks and emotional chain-pulling, the concentration on endlessly mining the same small body of jazz standards. While Marsh was a generally cool-toned player, the critic Scott Yanow notes that Marsh played with “more fire than one would expect” in certain contexts.
Marsh’s rhythmically subtle lines are immediately recognizable. He has been called by Anthony Braxton “the greatest vertical improviser” (i.e., improvising that emphasizes harmony/chords more than melody). In the 1970s, he gained renewed exposure as a member of Supersax, a large ensemble which played orchestral arrangements of Charlie Parker solos. Marsh also recorded one of his most celebrated albums, All Music, with the Supersax rhythm section during this period.
Though he remains something of a cult figure among jazz fans and musicians, his influence has grown since his death; younger players such as Mark Turner have borrowed from his music as a way of counterbalancing the pervasive influence of John Coltrane. Marsh’s discography remains somewhat scattered and elusive, as much of it was done for small labels, but more and more of his work has been issued on compact disc in recent years.
Enjoy the jam.
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