Primal Elegance marks the recording debut of guitarist Bud Tristano, son of jazz pianist, teacher, and theoretician Lennie Tristano. However, Bud's musical apple has fallen far from the tree. Primal Elegance is devoted to his distorted and overdriven rock-influenced guitar. There's nothing here that anyone would recognize as being of the Tristano school, except the accompaniment of pianist Connie Crothers, one of the master's most devoted acolytes. What connects the son to the father's work, though, is the belief that music should be a free expression of a musician's inner workings. Crothers has been a major proponent of this freer strain of Tristano-ite thought, and in that context Primal Elegance fits well within that tradition. Her piano playing especially comes to the fore on the three tracks featuring Bud's acoustic guitar. These are more melodic and imply traditional rhythms. "Poesia," for example, strikes a Spanish pose. Elsewhere, Bud's guitar dominates. He conjures up sheering sheets of sound and ringing overtones. "Sound Painting" could very well be the title of any of these tracks. The rhythms are static; all sound like extended cadenzas to songs that listeners haven't and won't hear. The bluesy "Mahicanituk" implies what those songs could sound like. Maybe a session that features those hypothetical tunes would more fully realize the potential of Bud Tristano's work.
AllMusic Review by David Dupont