Costumes Are Mandatory
(cover photo by Julie Worden)
Lennie Tristano was the teacher; his foremost students were Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. Together, they remain a fascinating resource for those seeking new ideas within old structures. Recorded in 2012 and released in summer 2013 by High Note records, Costumes Are Mandatory documents Ethan Iverson, Konitz, Larry Grenadier, and Jorge Rossy in dialog with the Tristano school and each other. Full liner notes explain choices and approaches to repertoire.
Excerpts from The New York City Jazz Record review by David Adler:
The smartest thing a younger jazz player can do is to seek wisdom from established masters of the music. Pianist Ethan Iverson has done this again and again...On Costumes Are Mandatory he joins alto saxophone great Lee Konitz in a session full of idiosyncrasy and varied repertoire...
Bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy, who worked together for years in Brad Mehldau’s trio, provide just the right feel - relaxed but deeply swinging. If anything Grenadier is more the timekeeper while Rossy blurs and deepens the textures. Grenadier’s bowing on the abstract piano-bass duet “Mr. Bumi” (named for pianist Masabumi Kikuchi) is especially strong...
The spirit of Tristano, Konitz’ old teacher, hovers over the set. Iverson alludes to some of Tristano’s distinctive practices: using a metronome on the piano-drum duet “Bats”; overdubbing or tweaking the piano sounds on “It’s You (Tempo Complex)” and “My New Lovers All Seem So Tame” (the latter a short prelude to “My Old Flame”, on which Konitz scat-sings). The turbulent piano trio showcase “A Distant Bell” - based on “I Remember You” - also builds on Tristano’s (and Konitz’) discipline of using standards as groundwork for new inventions...
Konitz remains warm and inescapably melodic on the horn...His duet with Grenadier on “Body and Soul” stands out as well - hard to believe Coleman Hawkins recorded his historic version two days before Konitz’ 12th birthday.
Session photos by John Rogers.
(Pete Rende supplied engineering, mixing, and special sonic touches)