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Lee Konitz with Warne Marsh (Atlantic, June 1955)

"From their entrance together in this set, after the opening bass beats in Topsy, right through to the last measures of Background Music, Lee Konitz and Wayne Marsh exhibit that elegance of sound and subtlety of time, together and apart, which distinguish them beyond most other present-day practitioners of the art of saxophone. [...] Throughout this set, there is another contribution to be noted: the now efficient, now enthusiastic, now covert, now capricious drumming of Kenny Clarke, who has proved himself, in person as on this record, a remarkably adept drummer for musicians of the Tristano school. In his case, too, it is a matter of time and - rara avis among those who play the hides and cymbals - sound, sound which he controls and varies as much as he does his accented and accentless drumming to fit the individual pieces." - From the original liner notes by Barry Ulanov, Down Beat columnist

Session #1: Lee Konitz, alto sax; Warne Marsh, tenor sax; Sal Mosca, piano #1-4,7; Billy Bauer, guitar; Oscar Pettiford, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums. NYC, June 14, 1955. Tracks: Two Not One, There Will Never Be Another You, Donna Lee, Don't Squawk, Topsy, I Can't Get Started, Background Music (All of Me) Session #2: Lee Konitz, alto sax; Warne Marsh, tenor sax; Ronnie Ball, piano; Billy Bauer, guitar; Oscar Pettiford, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums. NYC, June 15, 1955. Tracks: All The Things You Are (unissued), I Saw You Last Night (unissued), Ronnie's Line Other reviews: "Altoist Lee Konitz and tenor-saxophonist Warne Marsh always made for a perfect team. Even by the mid-'50s when they were not as influenced by Lennie Tristano as previously (particularly Konitz), their long melodic lines and unusual tones caused them to stand out from the crowd. On this LP reissue Konitz and Marsh co-lead a particularly strong group that also includes pianist Sal Mosca, guitarist Billy Bauer, bassist Oscar Pettiford and drummer Kenny Clarke. Their renditions of "originals" based on common chord changes along with versions of "Topsy," "There Will Never Be Another You" and "Donna Lee" are quite enjoyable and swing hard yet fall into the category of cool jazz. This set is worth searching for, as are all of the Konitz-Marsh collaborations." - Scott Yanow, Allmusic "A respite from honking muscular saxophones, the light and airy fluidity of Lee Konitz finds a perfect match in Warne’s sympathetic tenor. Astonishing technical artistry of both players combines with the imaginative lines of improvisation, to the point where their solo converge and intertwine with great elegance. Musical telepathy at the level of Evans and Lafaro. The rhythm section is flawless – how could it not be, with Oscar Pettiford and Kenny Clarke in the engine room providing the drive whilst Mosca and Bauer provide the musical structure and tonal colouring." - LondonJazzCollector (2012) "A welcome reissue for this 1955 session from Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. Both saxophonists put in time with Lennie Tristano before becoming inextricably associated with the cool school, and as such were often criticised as being over cerebral or even worse, lacking in swing (a heinous crime indeed in the eyes of the jazz police). No such complaints here, as support comes from the classic bop rhythm section of Kenny Clarke on drums and Oscar Pettiford on bass. Indeed from the opening "Topsy", a tune most associated with Count Basie, Clarke and Pettiford display an urgent, warm propulsion which they maintain throughout the session. Sal Mosca on piano and guitarist Billy Bauer (long time Konitz/Marsh associates) provide subtle, occasionally oblique counterpoint, but it's Konitz and Marsh's show. Both saxophonists had by this time evolved highly individual vocabularies; Konitz had somehow managed to avoid the influence of Charlie Parker, and Marsh had similarly developed a distinctive voice that owed little to the prevailing tenor tradition (except maybe late Lester Young). Moreover they had built up an almost telepathic rapport; when soloing together (as on "I Can't Get Started") it becomes quickly pretty impossible to tell who's who as their lines curl and fold in on each other. Marsh sticks mostly to the upper register of his horn, making differentiation even trickier. Tristano's "Two Not One" brings out the best in the duo, it's fractured, boppish melody provoking a joyous solo from Konitz and an unusually gritty response from Marsh (one of his rare excursions to the lower frequencies). It's fascinating to hear them dissect Parker's "Donna Lee"; Konitz resists the urge to grandstand and somehow his playing maintains its floating, aerated quality even at this high tempo; even Clarke's trademark Klook bomb drops don't faze him. Graceful, intelligent improvising that swings - what more could you want? Highly recommended." - BBC Review, Peter Marsh (2002)


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