Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Warne Marsh

Warne Marsh has a claim on my heart.  My first introduction to serious jazz was listening to Bill Evans in the apartment of an English Professor, Mead Harwell, in Jonesboro, Arkansas.  One of my first purchases was Crosscurrents, featuring the Bill Evans Trio backed by Lee Konitz and Marsh.  It is still one of my favorite albums.  Here is a sample from this superb recording:
Every time we say goodbye/Crosscurrents
I looked for Marsh records for years, but it is only recently that I have managed to obtain some of his own recordings.  Recently I got The Unissued Copenhagen Studio Sessions.  You gotta love the title: how can they be unissued if they are on this CD?  This is a beautiful piece of work.  How many brilliant albums are still in the can somewhere out there?  Marsh is backed by guitarist Dave Cliff, bass player Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, and drummer Al Levitt. 

Marsh's tenor had a fuzzy, impressionistic sound, even when he was playing very fast.  Cut your pallet first, maybe, by listening to a bit of Art Pepper.  Here is one of my favorite standards from the album.  You might contrast it with Booker Evin's interpretation. 
You don't know what love is/The Unissued Copenhagen Studio Sessions


  1. Warne was one of the greats. I'm a beggining alto saxophonist and to sharpen my ear I use the lennie tristano/warne marsh method of singing solos. I make it a point yo sing warne's solo on body and soul solo from warne marsh sal mosca vol 1 album. Warnes music has to be some of the most enlightened and enlightening music there is. Thanks for bringing light to one of the greatest jazz musicians

  2. You are welcome, anon. And thanks for the comment. Warne Marsh was the real thing. I seem to recall that he died on stage.

  3. Konitz, Marsh and Tristano after saying that you were a hard bopper???Boy! You wouldn't have fit it during the late 1950s! That was an either/or era, believe me! I have 4500 items (tape, cd, lp) in my collection, and over the years I've learned that one can love Jelly Roll Morton, Bird, Konitz, Desmond, Hard Bop, et al., without being a mindless wuss who loves "just everything." So . . . about Marsh: Do you have his "Ballad Album" on Criss-Cross? That is pure heaven!
    In any of its forms or pigeon holes, jazz doesn't get any petter than that!

  4. Anon: I don't have Marsh's Ballad Album yet. On your recommendation, I will grab it when next my eMusic credits renew.