Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lennie Tristano (1965)

This is Lennie Tristano performing at a Jazz Piano Workshop in Berlin in 1965.

Leonard Joseph Tristano (1919-1978) was a jazz pianist and composer. He was born in Chicago to an Italian immigrant family. He was blind from infancy. He studied piano and music theory from his pre-teen years and graduated from Chicago’s American Conservatory of Music in 1943.

Tristano's interest in jazz inspired a move to New York City in 1946. His advanced grasp of harmony pushed his music beyond even the complexities of the contemporary bebop movement, though Tristano was always explicit about acknowledging his enormous debt to Charlie Parker and Bud Powell. Though he and his followers remained at something of a slant to mainstream bebop, Tristano did on occasion play and record with bebop's preeminent figures such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Often the "Tristano school" has been contrasted with bebop by being labeled "cool jazz.”

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