Lennie Tristano: Wow
Lennie Tristano (piano)
Intuition (Capitol Jazz CDP 7243 8 52771 2 2)
Composed by Lennie Tristano.
Recorded: New York, March 4, 1949
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
Lennie Tristano offered jazz's answer to abstract expressionism. A graduate of Chicago's American Conservatory of Music, Tristano was so cerebral, his sidemen were compelled to become his pupils. Together they emulated the overlapping trajectories of painter Jackson Pollock, their extended lines demanding evaluation not by music critics but by mathematicians schooled in fractal geometry. Men wearing lab coats and operating with scientific detachment are, however, better suited to surgical sterility than to the teeming Petri dish of jazz. Tristano's palindromic "Wow," which would be equally valid/vague played back to front, is as austerely beautiful as Antarctica and just as frigid.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz