An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz)


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If that is the case, given his enormous achievements, how much of a chance is there to revive the reputation of one of his most brilliant students, tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh? Safford Chamberlain, a college English teacher and one time student of Marsh, has certainly given it a good shot in his biography of Marsh, An Unsung Cat.

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And, happily, a companion CD has been issued on Storyville with the same name. Both the book and CD are arranged in chronological order. Marsh was born in to a well-to-do Los Angeles family. Marsh remained an uncompromising musician throughout his career. He accented very unpredictably and frequently ignored bar-line barriers. At this time his work also became more angular.

The Life and Music of Warne Marsh

He found New York musically more stimulating, partly because Tristano was there, but life was more secure in L. There were long periods of time when he did not record, and even some of the material he did cut was not, apparently, available to Storyville, because we have nothing between and on the companion CD, although Marsh did make impressive appearances on live and studio dates in that period.

Nine of the 16 tracks on this CD were cut from to In the process he provides an interesting overview of the Tristano school.


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He was a complex man, who has been described as shy and was obsequious to Tristano, but could also be nasty and inconsiderate. He had a serious drug habit, which may have caused his fatal heart attack. He interviewed people for this project and pored over many old publications.


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  • His text is rich in factual material; he backs up what he says and he provides a good discography, though his book, amazingly, lacks an index. Bringing to the attention of the general public a superior and original musician like Marsh certainly deserves praise. But truth crushed to earth does not always rise.

    An Unsung Cat

    Someone has to make it happen. JazzTimes Newsletter.

    An Unsung Cat explores the life and music of jazz saxophonist, Warne Marsh. Safford Chamberlain follows the artist from his start in youth bands like the Hollywood Canteen Kids and The Teen-Agers through his studies under Lennie Tristano, his brilliant playing of the s, his disappearance from public view in the s, his re-emergence in the s, and his belated recognition in the s as one of the finest tenor players of the post-World War II era.

    Warne Marsh & Lennie Tristano Discuss Improvisation

    Through interviews with the Marsh family and friends, Chamberlain offers an inside view of Marsh's private life, including his struggles with drug abuse. Detailed analysis of outstanding performances complements the personal story, while an extensively researched discography and photographs reveal the public and private face of this unique performer. In addition to the book, Scarecrow is pleased to offer a companion compact disc, released by Storyville Records. The tracks on the CD provide a representative sampling of Marsh's best work, while providing a historical overview of his development, from the beginning track, "Apple Honey," which is a private, low-fidelity tape from an NBC radio broadcast in of the Hoagy Carmichael Show, to the final track, "Sweet and Lovely," captured months before his death in More Biography.

    An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz) An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz)
    An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz) An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz)
    An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz) An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz)
    An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz) An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz)
    An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz) An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz)
    An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz) An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz)
    An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz) An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh (Studies in Jazz)

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