Brew Moore: I Can't Believe that You're in Love with Me

Milton Aubrey "Brew" Moore believed that "Anyone who doesn't play like Lester Young is wrong," and remained faithful to Prez's style throughout his short and sparsely documented career. Unlike his contemporaries Stan Getz and Zoot Sims, Moore's approach remained relatively unchanged over the years. Having said that, at his best he swung very hard and was a nimble and inventive improviser who was rightfully extolled by Jack Kerouac in his novel Desolation Angels (Chapter 97): "Brew Moore is blowing on tenor saxophone...and he plays perfect harmony to any tune they bring up—he pays little attention to anyone, he drinks his beer, he gets loaded and eye-heavy, but he never misses a beat or a note, because music is in his heart, and in music he has found that pure message to give to the world." Plagued by a drinking problem (hence his nickname "Brew"), Moore died in 1973 after falling down a stairway in Copenhagen, just days following his receipt of a large inheritance. He was only 49.

For his first album as leader in 1956, Moore fronted a group of obscure local San Francisco area musicians. On the track "I Can't Believe that You're in Love with Me," his tenor surges confidently through the theme and his solo with a perfectly matched buoyant rhythmic pulse and flowing phraseology, his somewhat foggy tone recalling Zoot Sims. Moore's sidemen acquit themsleves quite well, especially John Marabuto, whose piano solo is played with both a sound and percussive attack similar to that of Eddie Costa.

August 03, 2009 · 0 comments


Charlie Parker & Lennie Tristano: I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me

This rare private recording finds Bird visiting Lennie Tristano at 317 E. 32nd St., where the pianist had set up a modest recording studio (with some help from Rudy Van Gelder). Kenny Clarke joins in on brushes, playing a phonebook instead of a drum kit.

There is a miscommunication between the two players eight bars into Bird's solo—the altoist seems ready to go into the bridge, while Tristano has returned to restate the A theme. But after that, the performance is wonderfully relaxed, with Parker taking on more of a Lester-ish flavor than usual. Tristano once commented that Bird's pianists didn't challenge him enough in their comping, yet his own accompaniment here is smooth with only occasional harmonic sparks thrown in Parker's path. But for his own solo, Lennie gets more baroque in a delightful way.

Parker and Tristano apparently discussed starting their own record label around this time, but unfortunately we have only a handful of tracks documenting the chemistry between these two players. Tristano revered Parker, and marveled at the altoist's ability to hear and respond to his substitute changes. And Bird returned the props, at a time when many critics were hostile, stating: "As for Lennie Tristano, I would like to go on record as saying I endorse his work in every particular. . . He has tremendous technical ability and you know, he can play anywhere with anybody. He's a tremendous musician."

I wish we had several hours of Bird and Lennie in musical dialogue. This track is more an appetizer than a main course, but still an important document in the history of modern jazz, demonstrating the complementarity of two approaches that some would have you believe were incompatible.

December 31, 2008 · 0 comments


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