The Complete Keynote recordings – Lennie Tristano: Start your Easter in style.

What can I say?  Tonight is the start of a four-day (not so) break for me and I have designated this delicious night, FREE! Which usually means Jazz for me and then some crap movies that I would never dare tell you about (I’m catching up on Harry Potters… shhhhh – don’t tell anyone) because they would ruin my stellar reputation as high-brow snob if I revealed all.

But is ‘not-being-seen’ at home unawares the absolute essence of highbrow snobbery?

Either way, I am preventing my brain from turning to absolute mush (lets face it these hours I’ll never get back) by adding a little cruizy Lennie Tristano to chill and ease my way into the reverberating shock of a night off.

Leonard Joseph Tristano was a jazz pianistcomposer and teacher of jazz improvisation. He performed in the cool jazzbeboppost bop and avant-garde jazz genres. He remains a somewhat overlooked figure in jazz history, but his enormous originality and dazzling work as an improviser have long been appreciated by knowledgeable jazz fans. In addition, his work as a jazz educator meant that he has exerted a substantial influence on jazz through figures such as Lee Konitz and Bill Evans.

The earliest of these 19 sides, dating from 1946, capture Lennie Tristano at age 27, newly arrived in New York and beginning to carve a place for himself in the embryonic bebop scene. Playing with Billy Bauer on guitar and bassist Clyde Lombardi, Tristano shows off a mix of youthful verse and pianistic elegance, coupled with effortless, seamless invention, matched by Bauer’s crisp, economical, yet quietly flamboyant guitar. Other, later sides included here, from the following year, capture Tristano and company moving into more dissonant and experimental territory, challenging the listeners without ever losing them as he ranges across unexpected tonalities. It’s all glorious listening, and don’t be put off by the multiple takes of all but three compositions here because no two are alike enough to make it seem like you’ve been there before.

Enjoy your night everyone.  I had a single glass of a very smooth red with my jazz tonight, and if you’re the kind that might be so inclined I highly recommend the combining of the two sultry pleasures.

I’m off now.  Back to crap for a couple more hours.  I’ll be here with more cult-char tomorrow. Enjoy the jazz.