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Warne Marsh: An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh

AAJ Staff By

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As a companion piece to the book by Safford Chamberlain of the same name, this CD traces the musical life of Warne Marsh, the brilliant Tenor Saxophonist, from 1945 to 1987. We see Marsh as an 18 year old echoing the style of the Hawkins/Webster generation to one imbued with the spirit of Charlie Parker in a metamorphosis of incredible beauty.

  • Apple Honey (1945-46)
    This is a tape from a radio broadcast of the Hoagy Carmichael radio show. Marsh is following the insistent beat of this 18 piece band and playing in the breathy style of that era. But with the emergence of Charlie Parker on the jazz scene, a change was in the offing and it was a transition of monumental proportions, as this CD clearly shows.

  • Marshmallow (1949)
    Lee Konitz, A/S, Warne Marsh, Tenor, Sal Mosca, Piano, Arnold Fishkin, Bass, Denzil Best, Drums.
    Terrific Counterpoint and unison work between the Saxophones and able ensemble backing.

  • Tautology (1949)
    Same personnel except Jeff Morton on Drums.
    Stunning solo by Warne Marsh, a magnificent effort.

  • Broadway (1956)
    Warne Marsh, Ted Brown, Tenors, Art Pepper Alto, Ronnie Bell, Piano, Ben Tucker, Bass, Jeff Morton, Drums.
    Phrasing on a grand scale by Marsh, with an aside to Lester Young going out. Happy, swinging number with fine support.

  • Body and Soul (1957)
    Joe Albany, Piano, Ralph Garretson, Brushes, Bob Whitlock, Bass.
    This was a rehearsal piece for the group. Done up tempo in a clever version of Johnny Green's classic ballad.

  • Body And Soul (1980)
    Warne Marsh, tenor, Kenny Drew, Piano, Bo Stief, Bass, Aage Tanggaard, Drums.
    Done as a ballad this time with a moving solo by Marsh that gives it an ethereal quality as we fast forward 23 years.

  • Playa Del Rey (1957)
    Warne Marsh, Tenor, Ronnie Bell, Piano, Red Mitchell, Bass, Stan Levey, Drums.
    Great Piano solo and a swinging testimony to Bird by Marsh.

  • It's All Right With Me (1957)
    Same personnel as above..
    A blazing solo by Marsh is excitement personified, Yesiree!

  • You Don't Know What Love Is (1975)
    Warne Marsh, Tenor, Dave Cliff. Guitar, Niels-Henning Orstead Pedersen, Bass, Alan Levitt, Drums.
    Soulful rendition by Marsh's tenor with a Getz like feel but with much more bite than Stanley. His solos are rapid fire runs melting into rich blues phrases.A touching Guitar solo and a moving soliloquy by the Bass give this tune a rare quality.

  • Confirmation (1975)
    Same personnel as above.
    After a tentative start Marsh bursts forth with a virtuoso performance on Bird's composition. Pedersen's Bass work is on another level here.

  • Easy (1975)
    Warne Marsh, Tenor, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Piano, John Heard on Bass and Larry Bunker, Drums.
    Delightful ballad with Marsh at his best.

  • How High The Moon (1977)
    This has Marsh with a pre recorded rhythm section of Ron Carter, Bass, Ben Riley, Drums, and Kenny Barron, Piano
    Something on the order of Music Minus One. A practice tape.

  • It Could happen To You (1980)
    Warne Marsh, Tenor, Red Mitchell, Bass.
    Nice work by this duo but the Drums and Piano were conspicuous by their absence.

  • Way In There (1981)
    Warne Marsh, Tenor, Sal Mosca, Piano, Frank Canino, Bass, Skip Scott, Drums.
    Despite the track listing only Mosca and Marsh play on this one. This was recorded at the Village Vanguard on Mosca's boom box. Interesting duo effort.

  • Lennie's Pennies (1986)
    This is a Clare Fischer arrangement of Lennie Tristano's tune done at a concert under the auspices of Gary Foster, the Altoist.
    The music was recorded on a small tape player. The 21 piece orchestra was the Pasadena City College Jazz Enemble. Solos by Marsh and Foster swung like the Flying Wallendas. Author Safford Chamberlain, who was at the concert attests to the fact that Marsh, usually unflappable, was "visibly moved by the audience response"

  • Sweet And Lovely (1987)
    Warne Marsh, Tenor, Larry Koonse, Guitar.
    Koonse is a virtuoso of the Guitar and he brilliantly aids and abets Marsh in this dual tour de force taped at Mills College in Oakland.The Tenor work was as formidable as ever.

Warne Marsh died while playing, two and a half months after the Mills College concert.

Title: An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Storyville Records


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