Warne Marsh: Moose the Mooche

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.

May 07, 2009 · 1 comment


Charlie Parker: Moose the Mooche (live in Montreal)

Recorded live in Montreal, this date is a superb example of Bird playing at his high-speed best. Whether Parker’s velocity on this tune had anything to do with his ever-growing heroin addiction is not known. Parker had traveled north to appear on a Canadian television broadcast and in a concert presented by a Montreal jazz musicians’ society. On this particular night he was playing at the Chez Paree, and he roars through this tune—named ironically for his mid-1940s drug dealer. The recording provides a sense of what Bird sounded like wired and live in front of an enthusiastic club crowd.

March 13, 2008 · 0 comments


Charlie Parker: Moose the Mooche

The Dial Sessions mark Parker’s greatest legacy, and on his debut date for the label, the altoist is at top form. The lopsided melody reworks “I Got Rhythm” changes, and Parker floats out of the starting-gate with a sinuous improvisation that makes it all look so easy. Miles tries to follow with some of his bebop licks, but he is still several years away from finding his mature voice. Don’t miss Marmarosa’s intro and 16-bar solo, and hear why many think this under-recorded musician could have been one of the great modern jazz piano masters. A landmark bebop performance.

October 26, 2007 · 0 comments


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