For this CD reissue, Lennie Niehaus contributed five originals (including "Rick's Tricks" and "Circling the Blues") plus creative reworkings of six veteran standards and an obscurity called "Yes, Yes, Honey." The lineup of musicians is virtually a who's who of West Coast jazz (altoist Niehaus, tenor saxophonist Bill Holman, baritonist Jimmy Giuffre, trumpeter Stu Williamson, valve trombonist Bob Enevoldsen, pianist Pete Jolly, bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Shelly Manne), and the charts are both swinging and filled with some subtle surprises and occasional unusual tone colors. Well worth checking out, as are Niehaus' other valuable Contemporary sessions of the 1950s.
This formerly rare Contemporary set was reissued on a 1997 OJC CD. Lennie Niehaus, best known for his scores for Clint Eastwood films in the 1980s and '90s, was an excellent cool-toned bop altoist back in the '50s who spent time working with Stan Kenton. For this album, he is heard on two different occasions providing arrangements and alto solos for octets. With such fine players as either Jack Montrose or Bill Perkins on tenor, Bob Gordon or Pepper Adams on baritone, and other top West Coast jazz musicians, Niehaus primarily performs cool jazz. The inventive charts (which on the later date utilize a French horn and a tuba) and the superior, concise solos make this a set well worth acquiring by fans of the West Coast jazz sound of the '50s.
Alto saxophonist Lennie Niehaus is better known as the arranger for Clint Eastwood's films, but he has long been familiar to jazz fans as a respected bandleader, composer, arranger, and soloist. This limited-edition audiophile reissue of his first solo recordings (following stints with Stan Kenton and Shorty Rogers) is a stunner. Included is the first 10" LP he recorded with a three-saxophone front line – in this case, with Jack Montrose (tenor), and Bob Gordon (baritone) – and other quintet sessions with musicians including pianist Hampton Hawes, and fellow Kentonite Shelly Manne (who was responsible for Niehaus' record deal with Contemporary's Lester Koenig in the first place).
The history of jazz is written as a recounting of the lives of its most famous (and presumably, most influential) artists. Reality is not so simple, however. Certainly the most important of the music's innovators are those whose names are known by all — Armstrong, Parker, Young, Coltrane. Unfortunately, the jazz critic's tendency to inflate the major figures' status often comes at the expense of other musicians' reputations – men and women who have made significant, even essential, contributions of their own, who are, for whatever reason, overlooked in the mad rush to canonize a select few. Lennie Tristano is one of those who have not yet received their critical due. In the mid-'40s, the Chicago-born pianist arrived on the scene with a concept that genuinely expanded the prevailing bop aesthetic.
An excellent collection of rare material by this fantastic modernist piano player! The record compiles rare recordings from the years 1951 to 1966, including a few excellent solo recordings that stand as essential gems from his underrecorded career. Titles include "Ju Ju", "Pastime", "Stretch", "Dream: Paris 1965", and "Descent Into The Maelstrom". (Great Japanese pressing!) This hard-to-find LP starts off with the utterly unique title cut. On this completely atonal track (which predates Cecil Taylor by a few years), Lennie Tristano overdubbed several pianos and created picturesque and extremely intense music.