Lennie Tristano

AlbumLennie Tristano

Artist: Lennie Tristano

Year: 1956

Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz

Grade: A-

A lot of people don’t like Lennie Tristano. I’m not sure if I do either. His music is cold and distant. But there is a certain irresistible, intellectual quality to it, like a Michelangelo Antonioni film. Not that I’m comparing the two.  Tristano — a rather talented pianist — experiments with both tape speed and overdubbing, which makes for a very atonal, disconcerting sound.

But considering the date (recorded ’54—’55) and the aura (intriguingly skewered bebop), this is a record that can be looked at as an avant-garde landmark. The first four songs are what draw listeners in or shut listeners out, but there is no doubt that “Turkish Mambo” is a revelation, regardless of classifications.

Highlights“Turkish Mambo”“East Thirty-Second”

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