Lennie Tristano: Descent Into the Maelstrom


Descent Into The Maelstrom


Lennie Tristano (piano)


Descent Into The Maelstrom (East Wind 8040)

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Lennie Tristano (piano).

Composed by Lennie Tristano


Recorded: Lennie Tristano's home studio, NYC, 1953


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Years before Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman released their first LPs, Lennie Tristano offers up an intense example of Free Jazz, completely atonal and full of drama. The song title refers to a 19th-century story by Edgar Allan Poe, but that is the only aspect of this track that looks backwards. The music itself anticipates the future with great acuity. But this performance was not released for a quarter of a century, so it impacts the history of the music only as a retrospective monument to Tristano's boldness and creativity. One wonders what would have happened had Tristano dared to put this out at the time. I imagine that the controversy over his "Line Up" track would have been a mere tempest in a teapot compared to the maelstrom that this performance might have unleashed.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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