Warne Marsh, Amsterdam, 1982
|Birth name||Warne Marion Marsh|
October 26, 1927|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||December 18, 1987
|Associated acts||Lennie Tristano, Supersax|
Warne Marion Marsh (October 26, 1927 – December 18, 1987) was an American tenor saxophonist. Born in Los Angeles, his restrained, cerebral playing first came to prominence in the 1950s as a protégé of pianist Lennie Tristano and earned attention in the 1970s as a member of Supersax.
He was tutored by Lennie Tristano and, along with Lee Konitz, became one of the pre-eminent saxophonists of the Tristano-inspired "Cool School". Of all of Tristano's students, Marsh arguably came closest to typifying Tristano's ideals of improvised lines, in some respects, even transcending the master himself. Marsh was often recorded in the company of other Cool School musicians, and remained one of the most faithful to the Tristano philosophy of improvisation – the faith in the purity of the long line, the avoidance of licks and emotional chain-pulling, the concentration on endlessly mining the same small body of jazz standards. While Marsh was a generally cool-toned player, the critic Scott Yanow notes that Marsh played with "more fire than one would expect" in certain contexts.
Marsh's rhythmically subtle lines are immediately recognizable. He has been called by Anthony Braxton "the greatest vertical improviser" (i.e., improvising that emphasizes harmony/chords more than melody). In the 1970s, he gained renewed exposure as a member of Supersax, a large ensemble which played orchestral arrangements of Charlie Parker solos. Marsh also recorded one of his most celebrated albums, All Music, with the Supersax rhythm section during this period.
Marsh died onstage at the Los Angeles club Donte's in 1987, in the middle of playing the tune "Out of Nowhere". He left a widow, Geraldyne Marsh, and two sons, K.C. Marsh and Jason Marsh. He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Though he remains something of a cult figure among jazz fans and musicians, his influence has grown since his death; younger players such as Mark Turner have borrowed from his music as a way of counterbalancing the pervasive influence of John Coltrane. Marsh's discography remains somewhat scattered and elusive, as much of it was done for small labels, but more and more of his work has been issued on compact disc in recent years.
A documentary is being made about him: Warne Marsh: An Improvised Life, directed by his eldest son, K.C. Marsh.
- Live in Hollywood (Xanadu, 1952)
- Jazz of Two Cities (Imperial, 1956)
- The Winds of Marsh (1956)
- Music for Prancing (Mode, VSOP, 1957)
- Art Pepper with Warne Marsh (JVC Victor, 1957)
- Warne Marsh (Atlantic, 1958)
- Jazz from the East Village (Wave, 1960)
- Ne Plus Ultra (Hathut, 1969)
- Report of the 1st Annual Symposium on Relaxed Improvisation (Revelation, 1972)
- Warne Marsh Quintet (Storyville, 1975)
- Live at the Montmartre Club: Jazz Exchange, Vol. 1 (Storyville, 1975)
- All Music (Nessa, 1976)
- Warne Marsh & Lee Konitz (Live at Club Montmartre) (Storyville, 1976)
- Tenor Gladness (Disco-Mate, 1976)
- Live at the Montmartre Club: Jazz Exchange, Vol. 2 (Storyville, 1976)
- Warne Out (Interplay, 1977)
- Apogee (Warner Bros., 1978)
- How Deep, How High (Discovery, 1979)
- Star Highs (Criss Cross, 1982)
- Warne Marsh Meets Gary Foster (East Wind, 1982)
- A Ballad Album (Criss Cross, 1983)
- Newly Warne (Storyville, 1985)
- Posthumous (Interplay, 1985)
- Back Home (Criss Cross, 1986)
- Warne Marsh and Susan Chen (Interplay, 1987)
- Red Mitchell/Warne Marsh Big Two (Storyville, 1987)
- Live at the Montmartre Club: Jazz Exchange, Vol. 3 (Storyville, 1987)
- Two Days in the Life of... (Storyville, 1987)
- For the Time Being (Hot Club, 1990)
- Live at Montmartre, Vol. 3 (Storyville, 1995)
- Ballad for You (Interplay, 1995)
- Red Mitchell-Warne Marsh Big Two, Vol. 2 (Storyville, 1998)
- I Got a Good One for You (Storyville, 2000)
- Live in Las Vegas, 1962 (Naked City Jazz, 2000)
- Personnel Statement (3D, 2002)
- Marshlands (Storyville, 2003)
- Final Interplay (Why Not, 2004)
- Duo Live at Sweet Basil 1980 (Fresh Sound, 2004)
- Berlin 1980 (Gambit, 2006)
- In Copenhagen (Storyville, 2007)
With Lee Konitz
- Subconscious-Lee (Prestige, 1950)
- Lee Konitz with Warne Marsh (Atlantic, 1955)
- Live at the Half Note (Verve, 1959 )
- Lee Konitz Meets Jimmy Giuffre (Verve, 1959)
With Joe Albany
- The Right Combination (Riverside, 1957)
With Bill Evans
- Crosscurrents (Fantasy, 1977)
With Clare Fischer
- Thesaurus (Atlantic, 1969)
With Chet Baker
- Blues for a Reason (Criss Cross Jazz, 1985)
- Gridley, Mark C. (1994), "Styles", in Ron Wynn, All Music Guide to Jazz, M. Erlewine, V. Bogdanov, San Francisco: Miller Freeman, p. 11, ISBN 0-87930-308-5
- Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, p. 857.
- Warne Marsh, Peter Madsen, Allaboutjazz.com, November 2001
- "Warne Marsh (1927 - 1987) - Find A Grave Memorial". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
- "Warne Marsh | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
- Chamberlain, Safford (2000). An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3718-8
- Cook, Richard & Morton, Brian (2003). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (8th edn). Penguin. ISBN 0-14-102327-9
- Cornelius, Marcus M (2002). Out of Nowhere – The musical life of Warne Marsh. Aurora Nova Publishing. ISBN 0-9580264-0-8
- Fan page for documentary, "Warne Marsh: An Improvised Life"
- http://www.warnemarsh.info – The Warne Marsh Web Site with a comprehensive discography, etc.
- http://auroranovapublishing.net – Web Site for Aurora Nova Publishing and the works of Marcus M. Cornelius
- http://www.scribd.com/doc/17489516/A-Jazz-Life-Scribd-Version – Memoirs and studies drawn from experiences as a student of Warne Marsh, 1982–1987. (John Klopotowski)