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Lenny Popkin by Lenny Popkin

Lennie Tristano's musical approach, developed in the forties, provided an alternative to bop and was a harbinger of free jazz. It wasn't for everyone, but then what music is? Today his legacy of uncompromising musicianship is celebrated by his former students. Lenny Popkin is one. He is best known for his long musical association with another Tristano pupil, pianist Connie Crothers.This started with joint production of the Lennie Tristano Memorial Concert at New York City's Town Hall in 1979 and later resulted in a long-lasting co-led quartet.

Popkin is a cool, airy and agile player who prefers his instrument's high register. At times you may feel you are listening to an alto. He spins out long lines that would make his mentor proud and makes good use of space. His innovative originals, which make up most of this album, range from the sinuous and romantic "Ballad" to the swinging "Onyx". "Nightflight" is particularly interesting as Popkin uses intervals to suggest a musical conversation. His playing is especially intense on the single standard,an abstract treatment of "I Surrender Dear."

The rhythm section makes good use of their experience with Popkin in the Crothers-Popkin quartet. Drummer Carol Tristano, Lennie's daughter, is an artist on brushes. She and bassist Rich Califano mainly provide rock-solid support rather than the punctuation often associated with jazz trios. This does goes beyond mere timekeeping - check out those tempo changes on the impressionistic "Formation"! They also get their own space on a couple of arrangements. "Soft Walk," which suggests "Out of Nowhere" includes a creative solo by Tristano while Califano has a feature on the up-tempo "Glidepath."

Marsh, Konitz, Bauer. Crothers. Carol Tristano, Califano, Popkin. Lennie Tristano lives on.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Lenny Popkin
  • CD Title: Lenny Popkin
  • Genre: Cool Jazz
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Record Label: Lifeline Records
  • Tracks: Trio, Ballad, Orion, Nightflight, I Surrender Dear, Lifeline, Formation, Soft Walk, Onyx, Glidepath.
  • Musicians: Lenny Popkin (tenor sax), Carol Tristano (drums), Rich Califano (bass).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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