Warne Marsh

Live in Las Vegas, 1962

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Warne Marsh was one of Lennie Tristano's most important students. Following the pianist's lead, he enjoyed exploring complex reworkings of standards, whether penned by a fellow student like Lee Konitz or one of his own. Joined by guitarist Don Overberg, bassist Carson Smith, and drummer Frank Severino, this informal recording (possibly made by one of the participants during a rehearsal, since there is some conversation at the end of performances with no audience response), documents the quartet in 1962. The audio quality varies widely, suggesting that the tapes were made over several session. "317 E. 32nd Street" is marred with dropouts and a few spots where it sounds like the microphone was bumped, while the recorder seems to have been set up very close to the drums, with the result that Marsh's tenor sax is somewhat distant sounding. It also sounds a little labored. Marsh uncharacteristically emits a few reed squeaks in the breezy setting of "Joy Spring." Things gel best in the uptempo romp, through Konitz's "Subconsciouslee" (based on "What is This Thing Called Love") and an easygoing "The Best Things in Life." While this cheaply packaged CD (which lacks liner notes or composer credits) falls short of being an essential purchase for Warne Marsh fans, the performances and audio quality are sufficient to merit its acquisition.

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