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5.0 out of 5 stars Saying no to the licks, 14 Nov 2010
N. Jones "Nic The Pen" (Oxford, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In Copenhagen (Audio CD)
Tenor sax player Warne Marsh, like his alto sax-playing kindred spirit Lee Konitz, has always vexed jazz critics. A player only tangentially in the Lester Young school, his was a musical mind of an order sufficient to ensure that he not only didn't rely on predetermined phrases guaranteed to fit the chord sequence of a given song, but he also came as close to anyone in the history of jazz to never repeating himself.

You can hear him quite evidently not repeating himself on Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" on this album, where he keeps the company of pianist Kenny Drew, a disciple of Bud Powell who for all of his debt to that master still had plenty to say in his own way. He says a lot on the same title, making the `lady' sassy as well as sophisticated.

Some of those critics also labelled Marsh a `cool' player and while there's something in the labelling it tells only part of the story. More pertinently yet the substance of it ensures there's a nice contrast between the co-leader's contributions. Miles Davis's "Sippin' At Bells" brings it out nicely and also serves notice of how Marsh would play a melody pretty straight, when he was of a mind to. Drew turns in a buoyant solo, driving the beat as well as being propelled by it, then Marsh turns the flame blue with his fondness for occasionally scarcely articulating some notes. The resulting lines could only come from him for all his debt to pianist and mentor Lennie Tristano, whose `school' some of those critics have in the past somewhat dismissively consigned Marsh to.

Again the consignment isn't without substance but to consider it as the whole story is a big mistake, especially when you're dealing with a true original.
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In Copenhagen - Warne Marsh & Kenny Drew
In Copenhagen - Warne Marsh & Kenny Drew by Warne Marsh & Kenny Drew
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