Lennie Tristano: Intuition
Lennie Tristano (piano)
Intuition (Capitol 52771)
Collective improvisation by the ensemble.
Recorded: New York, May 16, 1949
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
Here is another first for Lennie Tristano. "Intuition" represents the first collective improvisation in the history of recorded jazz. Only the order in which the instruments would enter was determined beforehand. Everything else was created on the fly. Tristano had been experimenting with this type of total improv in private, and now put it on record at this path-breaking 1949 session. This song was a radical move in the 1940s, and still sounds futuristic today. Put this up on the shelf with other Tristano breakthroughs, including the first recorded example of atonal piano jazz, and that earth-shattering version of "I Can't Get Started" from 1946. But this artist's recorded legacy is more than a matter of being first. The sheer brilliance of Tristano's conception is evident time and time again on these seminal recordings. Why this artist doesn't figure more prominently in the jazz history books remains one of the great mysteries of 20th-century music.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia