Warne Marsh in Amsterdam in 1982
|Birth name||Warne Marion Marsh|
October 26, 1927|
Los Angeles, United States
|Died||December 18, 1987
Los Angeles, United States
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.
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 (1952), Xanadu Records
- Jazz of Two Cities (1956) Imperial Records (re-released Imperial, 1956, as Winds of Marsh with alternate/stereo takes)
- Music for Prancing (1957) with Ronnie Ball, Red Mitchell, & Stan Levey on Mode Records (re-released VSOP, 1995)
- "Live at Dana Point" (1957) Warne Marsh and Joe Albany live at the Galleon Room in Dana Point (released VSOP, 2005)
- Live at the Half Note (1959) with Lee Konitz & Bill Evans on Verve Records (re-released Jazz Lips)
- Crosscurrents (1977) with Bill Evans, Lee Konitz, Eddie Gómez & Eliot Zigmund on Fantasy
- Apogee (1978) with Pete Christlieb, on Warner Bros. Records, reissued by Rhino Records, 2003
- Sax of a Kind (1983), Hot Club Records/Jon Larsen
- For The Time Being (1987), Hot Club Records/Jon Larsen
With Lee Konitz
With Joe Albany
- The Right Combination (Riverside, 1957)
With Clare Fischer
- Thesaurus (Atlantic, 1969)
- 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)