Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

233

Warne Marsh Quartet: Ne Plus Ultra

By

Sign in to view read count
As a protégé of Lennie Tristano in the late 1940s and early 1950s, tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh learned lessons that shaped his playing until his death in 1987. He has inspired a cult following among musicians, particularly saxophonists seeking an alternative to the John Coltrane approach, and Ne Plus Ultra fully justifies his status as a legend of the cool school.

Recorded in 1969 with a thoroughly rehearsed ensemble, the date finds Marsh exploring conventional forms with precision and depth. Having famously teamed with Lee Konitz for Tristano's sides on Capitol, Marsh enlists alto saxophonist Gary Foster for Ne Plus Ultra; comparisons to Konitz are inevitable, but the less influential Foster is still a force to be reckoned with. His polished tone and fluid lines are so compatible with Marsh's own that one begins to suspect some form of telepathic communication is at work.

The title of the Konitz composition featured here, "Subconscious-Lee," is particularly appropriate: calling to mind the anarchic dialogue of a Eugene Ionesco play, the saxophonists speak over one another, prompted only on a subconscious level by each other's phrases. To close the album, the two players trace the lineage of their advanced contrapuntal jazz to Bach with a tongue-in-cheek rendering of his thirteenth two-part invention.

Neither the absence of a chordal instrument nor the dominant character of the two horns can squelch the superb efforts of the rhythm section. Each of Dave Parlato's unaccompanied bass improvisations is a treat, and John Tirabasso's drumming is thoughtful and precise. Solos are brief and densely packed, lending an air of round-table discussion to the album. The group's dynamic range is somewhat limited, excepting "Touch and Go," a free piece containing the disc's most melodic and direct playing.

Hatology has reissued this much-bootlegged item with the usual pristine sound quality. Ne Plus Ultra is a no-brainer for Marsh converts; others may find its abstract qualities difficult to penetrate, but an engaged listener can look forward to a wealth of no-nonsense musical invention.


Track Listing: You Stepped Out Of A Dream; Lennie

Personnel: Warne Marsh: tenor saxophone; Gary Foster: alto saxophone; Dave Parlato: bass; John Tirabasso: drums.

Title: Ne Plus Ultra | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Hatology

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Cuarteto Europa CD/LP/Track Review
Cuarteto Europa
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections CD/LP/Track Review
Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition CD/LP/Track Review
Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Intelsat CD/LP/Track Review
Intelsat
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2018
Read World Gardens CD/LP/Track Review
World Gardens
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 14, 2018
Read "Bad Mouthin'" CD/LP/Track Review Bad Mouthin'
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 25, 2018
Read "Backstage Pass" CD/LP/Track Review Backstage Pass
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "So Far" CD/LP/Track Review So Far
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Melodious Drum" CD/LP/Track Review Melodious Drum
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 21, 2018
Read "Leading The British Invasion" CD/LP/Track Review Leading The British Invasion
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 30, 2017
Read "Close Up" CD/LP/Track Review Close Up
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 13, 2018