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Warne Marsh: All Music

The late tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh played with a spontaneous, seat-of-the-pants creativity that puts today’s young, book-learned jazzers to shame. Early on, Marsh got nailed for being a “cool” player. True, his tone was a little on the pale side, but in the years after he left pianist-mentor Lennie Tristano, Marsh’s phrasing loosened and his swing became more pronounced.

All Music (Nessa) is a straightahead blowing date from 1976 featuring Marsh backed by a redoubtable rhythm section of bassist Fred Atwood, pianist Lou Levy and drummer Jake Hanna. Tunes like Tristano’s “317 E. 32nd” and Lee Konitz’s “Subconscious-Lee” burn like rice paper dipped in lighter fluid. Both Levy and Hanna are top-drawer bop stylists, and Marsh is one of the all-time greats at the top of his game. Definitely not just for Tristo-philes or Marsh completists.

Originally Published