In December 1975, tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh and altoist Lee Konitz went on a European tour. Their musical reunion showed that the magic that had existed between them a quarter-century before when they teamed up with their teacher Lennie Tristano was still very much present…
Lee Konitz revived his nonet for the occasion of this 1979 concert, with trumpeters Red Rodney and John Eckert, baritonist Ronnie Cuber, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, and tuba player/bass trombonist Sam Burtis joining him in the front line. Lennie Tristano's "April," a challenging reworking of the standard "I'll Remember April," proves to be an inspired opener, with great solos all around. Knepper's blues "Who You" has the flavor of Charles Mingus' early-'60s compositions.
Pianist Lennie Tristano was an early inspiration and a major influence on the playing of altoist Lee Konitz and tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh. Their very notable and highly original Capitol recordings of 1949 – with the quiet metronomic rhythm section, advanced melodic improvising, and reharmonizations – stood apart from the typical bop of the period. By 1955, when the earliest performances on this 1997 limited-edition, six-CD set were recorded, the trio was not working together very often; in fact, Tristano was mostly functioning as a teacher, only surfacing for occasional records and club dates.
This unusual two-CD set not only reissues the original LP of the same name but three other rare Verve LP's from the 1950's. Altoist Lee Konitz (on "An Image") is showcased during a set of adventurous Bill Russo arrangements for an orchestra and strings in 1958, pops up on half of Ralph Burns' underrated 1951 classic Free Forms (the most enjoyable of the four sets) and meets up with baritonist Jimmy Giuffre, whose arrangements for five saxes (including the great tenor Warne Marsh) and a trio led by pianist Bill Evans are sometimes equally influenced by classical music and bop.