Lennie Tristano: Ghost of a Chance


Ghost of a Chance


Lennie Tristano (piano)


Concert in Copenhagen (Jazz Records JR12)

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Lennie Tristano (piano).

Composed by Victor Young, Bing Crosby & Ned Washington


Recorded: Tivoli Gardens Concert Hall, Copenhagen, October 31, 1965


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

The day before this Halloween concert in Copenhagen, Tristano shared the stage in Berlin with Bill Evans, John Lewis, Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines and Jaki Byard. He griped afterwards about the constraints and short solo space allocated to him in this all-star setting, branding the event as a "commercial performance." For this follow-up solo recital, Tristano was in a cerebral, noncommercial mood, and works through "Ghost of a Chance" with dense, dissonant chords played at a languorous tempo. One can almost see the overtones lingering over the Steinway, like wisps of smoke from a smoldering cigarette. Midway through the bridge, Tristano seems ready to modulate into something completely different, and it is actually something of a surprise when he returns to the chords of "Ghost of a Chance." In moments such as this, Tristano is out in his own unique galaxy, freed from the gravitational pull of Tatum and Powell and the other keyboard legends who captured so many others in their orbit. This is his sound, his style, his personal conception, set forth in architectonic structures of imposing grandeur. Moreover, he achieves all this while staying loyal to the sentimental pop tunes of yesteryear (this one was introduced by Bing Crosby back in 1933) that always formed the core of his repertoire.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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