I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You is not a Tristano original, but is nonetheless very connected to Tristano’s recorded legacy. “Ghost of a Chance” has been recorded countless times by many of the greats including Bing Crosby (who co-authored the lyrics), Lester Young, Frank Sinatra, etc… As far as I can tell there are only three recordings of Lennie playing this song:
1) Solo on September 23rd 1947 for the Victor Label
2) With Lee Konitz at the Confucius Restaurant on June 11th, 1955
3) Solo in Copenhagen on October 31st 1965.
I love each version, but have been really digging the early solo version lately.
Thanks for following along on The Seven Days of Lennie. If any of you will be in Seattle on November 4th and 5th, I’ll be performing all of these compositions (and more) with my Quintet at the Gallery 1412 and Egan’s Ballard Jam House respectively. For more details go here.
April is Tristano’s line based on the standard “I’ll Remember April” which I talked about in a previous post. My transcription is mostly based on the performance from the Half Note in 1959 with Lee and Warne. If you haven’t realized yet I’m a big Half Note fan!
The crazy rhythmic stuff at 36 seconds took me days to figure out, and was pretty confusing to write out. Other great recordings of April include two versions from the 1955 Confucius Restaurant date with Lennie and Lee, and the 1952 Quintet performance in Toronto with some very noticeable differences.
Wow. While some have theorized that this tune is inspired by “You Can Depend On Me,” Lennie’s long-time student Connie Crothers asserts that it is an original chord progression by Tristano. In any case it’s a very unusual and challenging piece of music. I love the restraint and purity of sound achieved on the original recording from the 1949 Capitol sextet recordings with Lennie, Lee, Warne, and Billy Bauer.
BONUS: Warne Marsh’s handwritten chart for the tenor part
Lennie-Bird (based on How High The Moon) is the most recent Tristano composition I’ve added to the repertoire. I’ve never really been a huge fan of playing How High The Moon (although I can’t help loving this version). But hearing Lennie’s line totally shed new light on it for me. My favorite version is from the Half Note with Lee and Warne in 1959. This is a somewhat insane challenge for horn players as there is very little opportunity to breath. I love the tasteful places where Lee and Warne stop to breath.
Transcription: Lennie Bird
I’m excited to announce that in exactly one week I’ll be playing a couple gigs up in Seattle with my Lennie Tristano Project. Although I’ve always referred to this project as a “Lennie Band,” it’s only recently that we’ve expanded our repertoire enough to be able to play a full set of music comprised entirely of Tristano compositions. Each day for the next week leading up to our first Seattle show I’ll be giving a little preview of one of the Lennie Lines that we will be playing. Each post will include a recording (or several) as well as a transcription. Enjoy!
317 E. 32nd St. (based on “Out of Nowhere”) is one of the most commonly played Tristano heads. It’s one of the first ones I learned, and is a great tune to warm up on. Listen to the way that Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh played it at the Half Note in 1959. They’re soooo loose with some of those rhythms. Check out the phrase at 36 seconds!! The version of Lennie and the Quintet live in Toronto in ’52 is great as well.
Here’s the transcription: 317 E. 32nd
**Note: all of these transcriptions are intended for practical performance use and don’t take into account many rhythmic idiosyncrasies. Some of them compile different elements from different versions as these tunes were often played very differently each time.