Denny Zeitlin: Stonehenge
Denny Zeitlin (piano)
The Columbia Studio Trio Sessions (Mosaic Select 34)
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