Recorded and originally released on vinyl in 1986 (a year and a half prior to Marsh's death), Back Home was reissued on CD by Criss Cross in 2001, with three alternate takes and a previously unheard version of Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring." Together with pianist Barry Harris, bassist David Williams, and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, the tenor master and Tristano disciple works through a set of tunes that, in true Tristano fashion, are built entirely upon the harmonic foundations of popular standards. The sole exceptions are "Joy Spring" and Tadd Dameron's "Good Bait." Mark Gardner's liner notes wrongly identify "I Got Rhythm" as the source for "Rhythmically Speaking"; the latter is actually derived, oddly enough, from "Little Willie Leaps." On four tracks Marsh is joined by fellow tenorist and Tristano student Jimmy Halperin, age 27 at the time of the recording -- over 30 years Marsh's junior. The two-tenor pairing recalls Marsh's '50s collaborations with Ted Brown. Marsh's peculiar linear logic and behind-the-beat phrasing are the aural equivalent of well-aged scotch, and his rapport with Barry Harris represents a felicitous union of straight bebop and one of its most enigmatic tributaries, the Tristano school.
AllMusic Review by David R. Adler