Lennie Tristano on "Line Up"

Tristano, ca. 1947
I first heard about Lennie Tristano's famous improvisation over "All of Me" changes reading Ethan Iverson's blog post about Tristano and his disciplines in the late '40s and '50s. I'm ambivalent about the style of playing that's generally associated with Tristano-ites, particularly w/r/t the sound of saxophonists and their approach to group interaction, but this particular solo is a fascinating study in deliberately and thoughtfully manipulating phrase lengths and note groupings to create uncanny lines from pre-existing bebop vocabulary. My friend has described this particular recording as a popular jazz nerd reference point, which I wouldn't disagree with, although it seems that Tristano's legacy has seen a bit of a revival in recent years

A couple weeks ago, I saw Dan Tepfer and Ben Wendel performing duo in Cambridge; they were on tour for the release of their new record Small Constructions, which features a rendition of "Line Up" that uses excerpts from Tristano's solo as melodic source material shared between the piano and saxophone. They performed an arrangement of their recording at the show, and prefaced their performance by giving a brief history of the track. 

Most notably, the recording is not only overdubbed on a bass and drums track, but also was allegedly recorded at half speed an octave below and then sped up for the recording. The timbre of the piano and the abundance of micro-accents within lines at the speed of the recording are the most obvious traces of this process, and after I recorded part of the solo an octave below slowly in Audacity and changed the speed of the recording and summarily its pitch, I was able to reproduce a similarly distinct timbre on the piano. Interestingly, since the final recording is also almost entirely left-hand territory on the piano, Tristano was recording very close to the bottom fo the instrument's range (his lowest note is the C three half steps above the lowest A on most piano), which clearly didn't interfere with his ability to hear elegant but unfamiliar phrasings of bebop melodies. There are a couple distinctive pentatonic runs that start a half step above the key center and then resolve that I found particularly ear-catching the first time I listened to the recording, but more interesting to me after transcribing has been identifying how Tristano subdivided his lengthy lines and phrases (even the opening notes of his solo are part of a 7 bar motif). 

Here's the solo:

Bb version
Eb version

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I've finally found what seems to be a manageable way to post PDFs of my transcriptions, so I'll try to keep C, Bb, and Eb versions available for future transcriptions. Thank you, Google Drive!