Denny Zeitlin: Stonehenge




Denny Zeitlin (piano)


The Columbia Studio Trio Sessions (Mosaic Select 34)

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Denny Zeitlin (piano), Cecil McBee (bass), Freddie Waits (drums).

Composed by Denny Zeitlin


Recorded: New York, March 6, 1964


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

This modal burner deserves to be more widely performed. One reason it isnít probably has to do with a complex polyrhythmic interlude that requires an authoritative lead sheet to be executed properly. Since Denny Zeitlinís own lead sheet isnít commercially available (I have a copy, and trust me, itís not music youíd want to transcribe), that leaves the piece in limbo.

From a listenerís standpoint, though, this is a compelling performance, and one of Zeitlinís earliest indications of his gifts as a composer. It has McCoy Tyner-esque sturm und drang, but Zeitlinís vocabulary is quite different and gives his improvisation a character of its own. The climax is Freddie Waitsí solo over a roaring vamp by Zeitlin and Cecil McBee.

The title refers to the well-known Bronze Age burial ground in Wiltshire, England. As Zeitlin was quoted in Nat Hentoffís liner notes: I had seen pictures of these tremendous rocks elevated by some unknown means, and the impression led to a certain ritual quality in the pieceóincluding the rise and fall of frenzy.

Reviewer: Bill Kirchner

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