Warne Marsh: Moose the Mooche


Moose The Mooche


Warne Marsh (tenor sax)


Star Highs (Criss Cross 1002)

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Warne Marsh (tenor sax), Hank Jones (piano), George Mraz (bass), Mel Lewis (drums).

Composed by Charlie Parker


Recorded: Monster, The Netherlands, August 14, 1982


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

The prevailing notion that Marsh was merely a cool-toned, cerebral saxophonist began to change to some extent in the '70s when he joined Supersax, a group that played unison transcriptions of Charlie Parker tunes and solos. Although Marsh didn't play any individual solos on the Supersax albums, he reportedly played heated up-tempo ones during the group's live gigs—perhaps similar to what you hear on this version of "Moose the Mooche" from 1982.

Marsh's all-star rhythm section would probably not have met the approval of his teacher and everlasting influence, Lennie Tristano, who disdained interactive bassists and drummers, but, boy, does it ever cook! The infinitely versatile Hank Jones—playing with Marsh for the first time—is as sympathetic and uplifting as he would be many years later with Joe Lovano. Mraz and Lewis also sound inspired, as does Marsh himself. Marsh and Jones perform the bop theme of "Moose the Mooche" in rapid harmony before the leader rushes into a densely packed, vertically constructed solo delivered with an expressive tone somehow possessing characteristics akin to both Charlie Parker and Lester Young. What his solo might lack in melodic and rhythmic development is more than made up for by the brash originality of his ideas. Jones succeeds Marsh with a fresh and unflagging improvisation of his own. Mraz and Lewis then get to make equally effective and dynamic statements as well. Prior to moving back into Bird's theme, Marsh and Jones engage in a dazzling polyphonic dialogue that makes it quite apparent that they are greatly enjoying this opportunity to play with one another, and are taking full advantage of it.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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  • 1 Michael Jenner // May 07, 2009 at 10:17 PM
    This album is absolutely essential. Warne at his very best.