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Page last updated 24 Sept 2018  

Global Warne-ing.

This is the part of the site where you can add any reminiscence or anecdote about Warne Marsh.  Contact me at the link on the Home page.

As an addendum to his post below, musician Alan Matheson has sent the following:

Hi Seth,

I managed to find the recording my septet did of “One For Warne”. This was recorded for CBC Radio in Vancouver in 1993 for the jazz radio show “Hot Air”. You’ll hear that we made use of a Tristano-inspired collective improvisation after the individual solos. The musicians on this recording are:

Alan Matheson-cornet, composer, arranger
Rob McKenzie-trombone
Julia Nolan-alto sax
David Branter-tenor sax
Chris Sigerson-piano
Russ Botten-bass
Craig Scott-drums


Matheson. Vancouver, BC. 12 August 2018

The recording can be heard here. The lead sheet is included in the initial post below

Bill Schweitzer has posted his reminiscences on Warne Marsh in concert for "Jazz In Flight". Recorded by KJAZ on Oct. 18, 1987

I was lucky enough to see Warne a number of times but the first and the last stand out in my mind. The first time was at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco where he played with Lee Konitz. They had just finished recording Crosscurrents with Bill Evans and were booked for the whole week (Tues. through Sun.) but Pat Martino who was to share the bill, didn’t want them with him (or at least this is what I heard) so they played two nights and I got to see them both nights, both shows. Heaven. On one set Art Lande sat in and I was later able to tell Jack Goodwin, who corrected the discography. The last time was when he played in SF again with Larry Koonse and a quartet. My friend had organized the concert and had arranged for the proceedings to be videotaped. Being a rather pushy guy, I was able to obtain a copy of the tape, with the understanding that I would not resell it. I had a few dubs run off but basically kept it for many years until I discovered Jack’s site. I was able to send him a dub (and I gave one to John Klopotowski who was living in SF at the time). A few months ago I learned through Marc Myer’s JazzWax blog that John had given his copy to KC Marsh to use in his film, but the picture and sound were not good. I was able to contact KC through John. We located the video operator but he could not come up with the original, so I sent him my 1st generation copy. He was able to use it and sent me back a nice digital copy as well. I’m glad you are carrying on Jack’s good work. I look forward to every new post.


Bill Schweitzer. San Francisco, CA. 31 August 2018

Kirk Silsbee has posted his reminiscences on Warne Marsh & Pete Christlieb at Pasquale's, Aug. 27, 1980

From whence I sprang: Warne Marsh & Pete Christlieb at Pasquale's, Aug. 27, 1980.
(Mark Weber's photo, taken at Donte's on another night, seems to be the only shot of Warne and Pete together.)

Quite simply, this was one of the greatest music performances in my life. My journal notes from that night on the first tune read: "Shoot me while I'm happy." Two great tenor saxophonists--superlative improvisers both--took the gift of Lester Young's linear and melodic innovation to its apogee. A worthy rhythm section of pianist Lou Levy, bassist and Pasquale's proprietor Pat Senatore, and drummer Dick Berk navigated the chordal and harmonic shoals of Johnny Mandel's "Close Enough For Love," "Love Me or Leave Me," "What's New," "Love For Sale," Cannonball Adderley's "Wabash," "My Heart Stood Still," "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," and "Lunarcy."
Levy, a harmonic genius, set the tone with his piano, while Senatore supplied a sturdy bass underpinning. Berk, whose drums I happened to be sitting near, were foursquare and swinging. I can still hear--and see--his ride cymbal. Warne held the tenor slung on his right side, his eyes fixed on the back wall. Though the music just flowed out of him, there was a definite Zen quality to his playing. Christlieb had taped "The Tonight Show" that afternoon; he was loose yet laser-focused in his imaginative improvisations. Like Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, Marsh and Christlieb showed how two great tenor saxophonists may have had shared roots in Lestorian orthodoxy, but their manifestations were entirely individual.
Pasquale's was one of the great jazz clubs in SoCal history. It sat at 22724 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu--right on the sand. On this particular Thursday night, the place was packed and the audience (which included broadcater John Breckow and jazz scholar and teacher Dr. Thomas Owens) was demonstrative to the point of shouting and clapping boisterously. After the second set the room was literally vibrating. Berk began to break down his drum kit while some young men in the audience, jacked up on the intensity of the music, yelled for more--specifically Miles Davis's "Donna Lee." Berk was heard to mutter, “F*#k her..."
But the mental postcard that I carry around in my head from that night came from the calm between sets. After some small talk about the music, I stepped outside to try to process what I'd heard in the balmy summer evening. There on the sand, lost in their own world, walked Warne and Pete--puffing on cigars and with heads lowered--spoke in low tones.
Was it mere coincidence that this gig fell on Lester Young's birthday?

Kirk Silsbee.
Los Angeles, CA. 27 August 2018

Musician Alan Matheson shares his reminiscences of Warne Marsh in Canada during the 1970's:



I was listening to the wonderful recording “Crosscurrent” today (the session with Bill Evans and Lee Konitz) and went on line to see if there was a site dedicated to Warne Marsh’s memory. I found yours and was pleased to see it.

Here’s a song I wrote in memory of Warne shortly after his passing. It’s based on the chords from “Out of Nowhere” (with a few alterations) and is meant to capture Warne’s way of creating lines as well as the influence of Tristano’s compositions.

I saw Warne twice when I was in my teens: once with the ensemble “Supersax” (in 1973 in Vancouver, BC) and with Lee Konitz and a local rhythm section (c. 1977 in Vancouver). It was a wonderful experience and I consider myself lucky to have heard him. While I’m not a saxophonist (I play piano and cornet) his approach has been a big influence on my own music.

All the best,


Original composition by Alan Matheson dedicated to Warne Marsh

Alan Matheson
. Vancouver, BC. 27 July 2018

Burt Golden shares his reminiscences of Warne Marsh and The Half Note from the 1950's:


Just came across your great site today. Very informative indeed...

Back in the late 1950s Warne, along with Lee Konitz and Lennie
Tristano, appeared frequently at a jazz club in lower Manhattan called
the HalfNote, at the intersection of Hudson and Spring Streets, on the
southwest corner. It was operated by the Cantarino family, with Mike
and Sonny tending bar, and Pop in the kitchen turning out tasty
eggplant parmesian sandwiches and the like. Might've been a sister
too, Rosalie or Rosemary or Rosemarie, waiting tables sometimes, can't
quite recall...

The layout of the club was something like a capital letter 'B,' with
the straight side along Hudson St. (which is the southern extention of
8th Avenue), the middle cross-piece representing the bar backed by a
raised bandstand, and tables in the loops. Evidently Lennie had opened
there when he "came out of retirement," for which Mike told me there'd
been people lined-up around the block...

I kind of fell away from jazz after those old days, so much of what
I've read here at this site about Warne's later development was new to
me. He was a great improviser and a great technician too; could even
play 'above the horn,' i.e., special fingerings and embouchure to make
notes above the normal range of the tenor saxophone. I owned a number
of his recordings from that era, but felt his best playing was live,
that last set in the wee hours when the place was nearly empty and he
would really cut loose...

I do regret not having known about his later California years, because
I myself lived out there for quite a long time and would have tried to
go hear him...

Again, many thanks for the site. Best regards...

Burt Golden. 23 April 2018

From John Mathieu:

I saw Warne together with Lee Konitz  at Ronnie Scott's in London in early 1976. He was, as I'm sure you know, outstanding. Later this month I am going to a tribute concert in Manhattan for Art Pepper. I am 68 now but still going strong and listening to live jazz. I have to say... Warne was one hell of a great tenor and I will never forget hearing him live.

Old Jazz guys are still here... I loved Warne!

John Mathieu. 10 February 2016

Hello Jack

I first knew Warne around 1962.  The first time I heard about him was when a friend of mine played an album of Lee Konitz and Warne.  It knocked me out.  I don't remember when I first met Warne, but I saw him at many places where he played in L.A.  I remember one time I saw him in Pasadena, playing with an alto man.  It was very hot and in between tunes he played about 10 or 12 bars of "Heat Wave", which showed a sense of humor.

Warne was very soft spoken.  He came over to my apartment with Buddy Clark, a bass player, on a motor scooter, about one hour's ride from North Hollywood.  I was at a party at his place when some musicians from New York showed up.  They had never heard of Warne.  When he pulled out his horn and joined in the session their jaws dropped.  He played so much, they couldn't believe it.  The last time I saw him was at Donte's in North Hollywood.  That is about all I remember as it was a long time ago.

Robert DeHay. Atlanta, Georgia. 31 May 2015.

Dear Jack

I don't make it a habit of writing to unknown e-mail addresses and I have nothing substantial to contribute to your website other than the memories I have of seeing and hearing Warne Marsh at Donte's, in North Hollywood, along with Med Flory, Jack Nimitz, Conte Candoli, et al. in "Supersax" in the early 1970s. I ate up the "Crosscurrent" recordings with Tristano and Konitz (who I saw twice in my life), which I first discovered, also in the early 70s, and the famous Konitz/Marsh recording of 1955 I have in my record library. Strangely enough, I heard Marsh with Supersax before I discovered the "Crosscurrent" recordings, but my perception of his playing was always the same: pristine purity, a forward driving virtuosity, crystal-like lines, slim and purposeful, might also be a description I would use. I have always had a great admiration for Marsh, as for Konitz, and I was fortunate to see him (Marsh) one last time, playing in a small concert in Stuttgart, Germany in the 1980s with the famous Austrian tenor saxophonist, Hans Koller.

I would be most happy to hear from you and, though we've never met, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Earl Rosenbaum.  Stuttgart, Germany.  (formerly residing near Los Angeles, CA)  21 December 2014.

Many visitors to this website will recognise the name Larry Kart.  Larry has been writing about jazz and other music for many years including for Down Beat magazine and the Chicago Tribune, together with his book "Jazz in Search of Itself".  Of particular note here are his writings on Warne Marsh.  He wrote the booklet enclosed with the Mosaic boxed CD set "The Complete Atlantic Tristano, Konitz and Marsh" and also the liner notes for the the Nessa Records release of "All Music".
I received the following from him a couple of days ago:

Great site — many thanks.

In that Don Specht anecdote about Warne playing on the slow theme from the fourth movement from Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra,
Specht refers to it as “a sendup of Tchaikovsky.” Rather, it’s a sendup of Franz Lehar, though it's often referred to as a sendup of Shostakovich:

IV. "Intermezzo interrotto". Allegretto.

The fourth movement, "Intermezzo interrotto" (literally "interrupted intermezzo"), consists of a flowing melody with changing time signatures, intermixed with a theme parodying the song "Da geh' ich zu Maxim" from Franz Lehár's operetta The Merry Widow, as the composer's pianist friend György Sándor has made clear. The later idea that Bartók was ridiculing the march tune in Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 "Leningrad" came from a misinterpreted claim by the composer's son Peter. It is much more likely, however, that both composers were parodying Lehár's universally popular song.”

Also, John Bianculli refers to a talented fellow student of Warne, tenorman “Greg Martin.” That probably should be Greg Marvin, who recorded for Criss Cross.


Larry Kart.  Highland Park, Ill. 15 December 2014.

Los Angeles writer on Jazz matters, Kirk Silsbee, has sent me a copy of his Journal 20, Vol. 13, published some years ago which I found of great interest and I'm certain visitors to this web site will too.  Thanks Kirk.  1st. June 2014.

Kirk Silsbee’s Journal 20

Volume 13

“I met Warne Marsh in 1966. Lou Ciotti, who plays tenor with Les Brown, got us together.  I was playing some commercial gig with Lou and he mentioned that he had just seen Warne.  I was already a big fan of his and I called him up.  
I was playing a dance gig and they were short a tenor player; the leader told me to show up with ‘a body in a tux.’  I asked Warne if he was doing anything that night and would he like to make fifty dollars.  He said sure.  
I remember we were playing a medley of tunes where each guy would get up, call a number to the pianist and solo.  One of the trumpet players called a tune that nobody had heard before.  It was the kind of tune that took some doing to listen to.  But Warne just listened to this guy play his solo and, based on that, he had the tune and its chord structure all figured out.  Then Warne stood up and played a fantastic solo on this thing.  And afterward he told me he’d never heard it before.
I should say that I never heard a horn player with as much force as Warne had.  I mean, there were a lot of strange things about him: he had small hands and he wasn’t a big, barrel-chested player, but he had an incredible command of the instrument.  Yeah—I guess you could call that a visceral thing.  Pete Christlieb has that, too--that ‘jungle communication’ of so much raw talent.  With both of those guys you know you’re in the presence of something magical.
And in ’67, Warne and I were in Clare Fischer’s band with Ciotti and Bud Shank and a bunch of guys.  Then Warne went back to New York; there was always that magnetic New York thing.   Later on, Lennie beckoned in ’77; he thought it might be the right time for Warne to go to New York.  
Warne was the kind of player you could be in awe of forever and ever.  With a lot of players you get to the point where you know just about what they’re going to play before they play it—if you’re around them for any length of time.  But Warne continually surprised you.  It was pure improvising.
A great solo is no accident.  It comes from knowing the material so well that when you improvise, it’s all intuitive.  That’s why when I play in public, I don’t like to have to read anything.  I’ll take the time to learn an Alan Broadbent tune or a Clare Fischer tune before I solo on it.  
You know that Warne wrote some of the Supersax arrangements?  Yeah, but they didn’t like his arrangements because he didn’t write the unison lines that they always played.  The baritone parts always kind of angled in; the baritone was always a renegade in his charts.” –Gary Foster, 12/29/87

I just ran across a fragment of an anecdote on a recorded practice session with bass player, Eric Von Essen.  Eric quoted a musician (probably a pianist) who played with Warne, that Warne called a tune in Ab but he thought he had said Eb, and they started playing in different keys but Warne heard it and switched to the other key in the space of one bar!  


Charles Coffman, Venice, CA. 8 November 2013.

    This the first time I have seen this web site about the musical career of Warne Marsh.  Thank you so much for starting it up....  every one who has written in have comments about his music, I hope it will be OK to hear a little about his life growing up in North Hollywood.  
    I'm his little brother, Owen, who has absolutely no musical talent.  Right now I'm in my mid eighties but still remember the sounds coming from Warne's room at all times of the day and night.  The same set of notes, over and over for what seemed like hours until he was happy with the results.  Then he would continue playing them just to see how much he liked them.

    Our mother, who was a musician before her marriage,  gave Warne his first instrument, a piano accordion, he had already mastered the piano in the living room.  He strapped the instrument on, fiddled around with it for about ten minutes, then started to play music like he had been practicing for years.   He was about nine or ten years old at the time.  I don't think there was a musical instrument made that he couldn't pick up and play.   
    By the time he was in junior high school he had settled down to the alto saxophone,  a couple of years later he switched to the tenor.  His junior high music teacher wanted him to try out for the Los Angeles all city orchestra, they had enough sax players but they could use a bass clarinet, so mother bought him a bass clarinet, he practiced for a couple of days, went down and tried out for the band and was accepted.
    Warne's room became a recording studio (mother bought him a recording machine) so I was used to the all night sessions with some of the boys who would later become the big names in the musical world.
    So Warne became known in the musical world and fulfilled our mother's dream, and our sister, Gloria, was to become a very talented and successful artist, and I took after our father who was a prominent cinematographer at MGM studios, and had my career as a cameraman. 

Owen Marsh.  July 27th. 2013.

Hi, first of all I'm not a musician, I can't read music, I can't play anything and, last but not least, I'm Italian so ..... sorry for my poor English!
But I think I can (and I like) listen to music very carefully and from 25 years ago my music is jazz (I'm forty-seven). By the way I think that nowadays it's difficult listening to something that's really new or exciting: according to me jazz should be still rhythm and improvisation, that is something you don't expect when you start listening. And here, therefore, Mr. Warne Marsh, surely one of the most important saxophonist and jazz musician "tout court" of the past century, the man whose warm (not "cool"!) sound is always a touching surprise for me (never boring like often Coltrane's, Rollins' or Getz's music is...).
So, I must congratulate for your website that's really a "benchmark" for everybody who likes Marsh's music and tries to collect almost everything he recorded. By the way, I really don't understand why many tracks are still unissued (for instance, songs from "L.K. meets W.M. again" or from "Report from 1st annual Symposium...") or impossible to find (for instance, "For the time being" or "W.M meets Gary Foster"): too many private tapes only for a few people's pleasure!

Last of all, my best wishes for your "web work" and thank you very much for your passion.
Riccardo Dagnino, Sicily, Italy.  30th. April 2012.

Hello Jack,
I am a frequent visitor and thought I’d take a moment to say how much I enjoy this site.  Particularly like the Global Warne-ing page! 
I am a late arrival to the music of Warne Marsh but have found much to appreciate as I have become more immersed in his discography.
I will comment that I am partial to some of Warne’s later recordings.  Particular favorites these days are the quartet & trio Storyville recordings from December 1975 and the recent release of a trio w/ Peter Scattaretico and Red Mitchell live in NYC in 1980.

Fred Born – West Milford, New Jersey, USA.  April 4th. 2012.

I saw Warne with Supersax at a high school jazz festival in 1979 in northern California and as a fledgling sax player, was blown away.   I got to talk to Warne after the show and asked him how do you play like that, all wide eyed and in awe, and his kind and gentle reply was "10 years or 10,000 hours... whatever comes first," then he gave me an autograph.  That was a long time ago but one of my best jazz memories, and I still remember how his solos that day changed my look at how the horn was played.  He was very powerful.  Thanks Warne.

Jeff Littlefield.  Martinez, California.  21 March 2012.

I recently received an email from Los Angeles based jazz writer Kirk Silsbee quoting an unpublished letter written by composer Don Specht in January 1990. In this, Specht wrote about playing with Warne Marsh and Kirk has kindly given me permission to add this letter to the Warne Marsh web site.  Kirk has also provided the thumbnail below, on Don Specht:

Don Specht (1930-2009) was a prolific film, television and commercial composer from Minneapolis who settled in Los Angeles in 1954.  He won eight Cleo awards for Best Musical Score in a Commercial.  His sessions were played by the cream of L.A. jazz musicians, including the Candoli brothers, Shelly Manne, Lou Levy, Buddy Collette, Frank Rosolino, Victor Feldman, Jack Coan, Joe Maini, Bill Perkins, Jack Sheldon, Med Flory, Buddy Clark, John Guerin, Sue Raney, Larry Bunker, Bobby Bryant and--on occasion--Cannonball Adderley and Zoot Sims.  Specht wrote some of the first charts for Supersax and his jazz tunes were recorded by Stan Getz, Levy and Sims.  His unreleased recording of Irene Kral, singing to Specht's string chart on "Like Someone in Love," remained a private listening delight to L.A. musicians for decades. 

Kirk Silsbee.  December 23rd. 2010.

 Warne and I met in Los Angeles in the late 1950s, through Buddy Clark, the bass player.  He had a casual dance gig and needed a piano (me) and one horn (Warne).  We hit it off.  Warne had a great fey sense of humor and knew the Tristano Kids were not held in high favor by the Bebop Boys.  So he was not only impressed that I was a bopper who loved Bud Powell, but that I also knew Tristano’s 1945 Keynote sides: “Out on a Limb,” “I Can’t Get Started,” etc. 

 I also liked to play chess and Scrabble, which were passions of his.  Warne was close to being a master in chess, but we were fairly even in Scrabble.  He hated to lose, and if you won, he insisted on “just one more game.”  That could go on if he didn’t win.  There were very few of those occasions!

Warne used to come over to my tiny bed-sitter at 1552 ¼ on narrow, steep Lucretia Avenue in Echo Park.  It almost became a gig for him: show up about 9 P.M., have a drink or two, buckle on his horn, and away we would go for at least two hours.  It was just like a club date.  Weird we were, playing sets!  He liked my “arranger’s piano”--no frills, no florid runs, just solid changes.  Early on he made a point of saying, “Can you cut out all those hip substitutions?  I’ll play those; you just feed me the basic changes and I’ll play on top of it.  Listen to how Lennie does it.”   

This began a long friendship, which survived Warne opening a bottle of champagne and blowing out a window with the cork.  With his analytical mind, he calculated the odds of hitting the exact trajectory again.  Warne was very good with electronics and worked as a repairman for quite a while in the 1960s.  Problem solving is a major key to understanding him—whether in music, games or electronics.  He just couldn't solve the problems in his personal relations. 

As I said, we treated my apartment as a club date, and after the “gig” we would get some take-out food and sit at a table playing chess or Scrabble until the wee hours.  Or we would alternate between blowing and games.  I knew all the Tristano Capitol sides, the ones with Lee and Warne.  So we played those and we would play Lee’s lines.  You can imagine the panic I had getting through “Wow,” especially the bridge!  Whoooooeeee!  Somehow we got through it and cracked up laughing when we totally screwed something up.   

Warne always wanted a challenge.  You couldn’t sit back, relax and play the same thing night after night.  My favorite story came about from nothing more than incipient boredom.  Warne said, “Christ!  Isn’t there some other ballad we could play?!  Something we haven’t put through the wringer?!”  I started noodling, strictly from left field, and he said, “I know that; can’t we make a ballad out of it?”  It was the slow theme from the fourth movement of Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, the send-up of Tchaikovsky.  He probably loved Bartok more than any other composer.  Well, we fiddled around with it for about an hour.  We took the opening motif and welded that on, worked through some other bits and pieces and ended up with a damn curious—but marvelous—“ballad.”  Fade out and now dissolve to one of the in-type L.A. jazz clubs, with all the hipsters—the Miles and Sonny coterie--hanging around.  The leader of the house band played piano and was not wont to let other piano players sit in, but Warne—that was another matter.  He was hip, man!  I don’t recall why we went; we probably had too much to drink at my apartment and decided to find a session somewhere to whip out our polished musical wares.  We did that on rare occasions when my stage jitters didn’t bother me.  I mean, who the hell was going to get up there and play the bridge of “Wow” with Warne Marsh?!  Anyhow, Warne played a set but I can’t remember the other horn players that night.  Although Dr. Jazz, the house pianist, held court most of the night, Warne asked, “When is Don going to sit in, man?”  When hell froze over, I guessed.  Finally, the leader asked Warne to play a ballad!  “What do you want to blow?”  Warne thought, looked at me, turned to the guy and said, “Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra.”  End of story except, as you may have guessed, I did get up there and we played our tune.  It blew everybody away and left Dr. Jazz nonplussed, but quiet as a mouse fart.  I have never played that tune with anyone else, and haven’t even thought of it for years.  Warne called it “Bartok’s Ballad.” 

The years went by and we fell away from the blowing days.   I got married, he got married.  He went back to New York for a while and I fell into the limpid pools of television, writing a lot of greenback music.  Of course, when we saw each other that was another story.  But the bloom had gone, the roses faded, and we got old.  

Ironically Warne died in Donte’s, playing “Out of Nowhere,” one of the tunes we had played together 30 years before.  Buddy Clark was the bass player that night; I was at home when Buddy phoned.  There was no thunderclap as with Beethoven, but I could hear a sardonic laugh somewhere out there: “Let’s play this in another key, man.” 

Don Specht, January 30, 1990

Thank you so much for collecting and making available so much information about this great musician. I have been a fan since cutting my musical ears on the great Lennie Tristano quintette, back in the early 50's. It is hard to believe that Warne has been dead now for 23 years. One of my favourite combinations was Warne and Susan Chen. Their empathy was palpable. I have kept track of Susan who is now in San Francisco. Unfortunately I have been unable to track down their duo recording.
Thanks again for all your efforts.
Brian Finnemore, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada.  23rd. November 2010.

(Note by JG. - I've now heard from Brian that he's been able to locate a copy of the duo recording.)

Hello Jack
We haven't met, but I just wanted to congratulate on you on the  fantastic website you've set up to celebrate the work and memory of Warne Marsh. I'm 59 and live near Liverpool and have discovered Warne Marsh rather late in life . Unfortunately, therefore, I never saw him perform live.
I grew up in a house with a lot of music, especially jazz as my Dad had been a professional jazz guitarist. So I got to listen and appreciate a lot of tenor players, but not Warne Marsh. My Dad  knew of him but hadn't really heard him until he went on holiday to California in the late 70s. By chance he saw Warne  there with Supersax and separately with  a quartet. I remember him coming back from that holiday saying what a revelation it was seeing Warne. He described him as a 'genius'--a word he very rarely used about musicians, and among the 'greatest of the greats'.  Somehow or other, my life got in the way and I didn't follow up my Dad's enthusiasm by checking out Warne Marsh myself--until seeing those wonderful clips of him on YouTube. I subsequently bought the Out Of Nowhere book by Marcus Cornelius--and now I'm hooked! I haven't found a copy of 'Unsung Cat' but will keep a lookout for that.
I'm also sorry to see that so many of his recordings are out of print or only available at sky-high prices. Of those which are readily available, I'm not sure which ones I should get, so I'd really welcome any advice you might have in that regard.
Once again, many congratulations on your labour of love, and very best wishes to you
Kind regards
David Chilver, England.  9th. June 2010.

(Note by JG. - David's Dad was the late Pete Chilver, who played guitar with the Ted Heath band, George Shearing, Ralph Sharon and many others.)

 I just spent nine days on the Lower East Side at a club called The Stone where Connie Crothers was curating a two-week series of music, at the corner of 2nd Street and Avenue C where they all converge at Houston (in NY it's pronounced House-ton).  And Bud Tristano  (Lennie's son) (age 50 now and looks 35!) told me that Peter Ind's studio was just down the street at 223 East Second Street, where those two great Wave albums of Warne's were recorded, and the CD version has your photo of Warne & Peter.   I realize now the significance of Peter Ind's pastel painting of the Williamsburg Bridge on the cover (!) because one afternoon, saxophonist Richard Tabnik and I walked over the bridge from Connie's studio in Williamsburg over to the Lower East Side  --   the bridge touches down on the Manhattan side only blocks from Peter's recording studio of those days!  Perfect.
--Mark Weber, Albuquerque.      7th. October 2009

Hi Jack,
My name's Geoff James - I'm a sax player living in Shropshire, England. I had the good fortune to see Warne in December 1975 at the Warren Bulkeley Hotel, Stockport.  He was the first American Saxophonist I'd seen live, and wow!   A life changing experience for me!  One thing I remember was how BIG his sound and presence were!  Absolute magic!  I can still remember the entire set - including "Crazy She Calls Me", which I don't think Warne played often?

As a footnote to the Marsh gig, I smuggled in a small primitive cassette player. After the first number - "It's You or No One" - Warne strolled over to our table, and I thought I was going to get a ticking off for recording him.  Instead he politely asked if the sound was ok.  I still have a very poor copy of that recording which is now incomplete.
In my humble opinion he really took jazz forward from Bird, and was as important as Coltrane!
Anyhow, Bless You for setting up the site!

V Best Wishes
Geoff.    4th. October 2009

When Warne Marsh and Lou Levy toured Europe in March/April 1983, the tour organiser, Gerry Teekens, chose, as bass player, Jesper Lundgaard who was very well known and a drummer few had heard of before, James Martin.  When Warne and Lou finished the continental Europe tour to appear in London, they left behind both Lundgaard and Martin and played in a duo and then a quartet setting in London before heading back to the U.S. in mid May.
During the tour, the original quartet made a recording for the Criss Cross label which was released as “A Ballad Album”.  However, several private recordings were made during their tour and those who have been fortunate enough to hear these, have remarked on just how well this quartet gelled and that both Warne and Lou Levy seem inspired by the remarkable bass player and drummer.  I’ve often been asked “Who’s the drummer?” but have never been able to find anything about James Martin who seemed to vanish after the tour ended.  So I was very surprised to receive the following email completely out of the blue:

     I am James Martin, the drummer who played with Warne on a tour in Europe in 1983.  I also played on his "A Ballad Album" LP with Lou Levy.  I remember his great lyrical playing and his honest approach to life.  I treasure those memories.   James”  (12 June 2009).

Obviously, having spent quite a considerable time asking around for the whereabouts of this gifted drummer, I couldn’t let things end there and so I replied to James asking him about his career, and in particular, his playing with Warne.  He has kindly allowed me to add the following story, with pictures, from that memorable tour.

Hello Jack,
   Thanks for the response so quickly.
   I am currently living in Naples, Florida, playing at the Ritz-Carlton with a couple of jazz trios.  After living in the Netherlands a few years, I returned to Atlanta, then the Miami area, then Switzerland.  I have been lucky enough to play jazz for a living all these years with locals and jazz greats alike.
    My experiences with the "musical acrobat" are greatly cherished, not to mention the greats Lou Levy and Jesper Lundgaard. 
    I was lucky enough to have been born in Atlanta, Georgia, a city steeped in African-American history.  I started out playing rock music, but was trying to better myself playing this magical music, jazz.  I had been playing with various bands and even played with Major Lance and Billie Joe Royal.  Finally, I got to test the water playing in strip clubs, etc. with some great local jazz musicians who took me under their wing.  I was probably about 21 at this time.  As time passed, I began to play  some with Duke Pearson, Layman Jackson, Paul Mitchell and others.
    In the mid-seventies, I played in a jazz house band with Johnny O'Neil. We backed artists such as Clark Terry, Zoot Sims, Sweets and Jaws, Milt Jackson, etc.  There are live recordings released of these on various labels.  We even did a couple of road dates with Milt.  It was a magical time, when some people actually had "ears".  One of the most intense weeks I ever had was with Lyle Mays and Marc Johnson.  I felt I was playing in the Bill Evans trio, not long after he passed.  After this week, I was contracted to record an album in Italy with a HUGE pop star, Renato Zero, little did I know.

     The Renato Zero recording turned out to be No.1 pop hit for 26 weeks. It was a lovely experience enjoying all the beauties of Italy for a few months. Upon my return to the States, I passed through Holland for a few days.  I had been there a few months a couple of years earlier playing gigs and enjoying the life.  During my stop-over, I sat in at a lovely jazz club on the coast in Scheveningen, outside of Den Haag.  The owner asked if I would return to work there after my commitments in the States.
     After returning, I went back to work at my old jazz job in Atlanta.  It was funny, at this time I was borrowing drums and cymbals from my friends before returning to Europe.  I sure learned a lesson from that! A musical instrument is like clothing.  It has got to fit!
     I was very excited about living in the Netherlands.  I loved the beauty and freedom of the people.  I was playing with local jazz musicians and the occasional star as I worked at the Vliegende Hollander, the "Flying Dutchman".
     A couple of years later, I was recommended to Gerry Teekens to do this tour with Warne and Lou.  I remember our first gig was at the "BIM-huis", the legendary jazz club in Amsterdam.  We clicked from the "get go" and played furiously that evening.  I remember Warne turning around and smiling at me after some burning piece.  Lou kinda warned about playing too loud, which I kept in my mind for the remainder of the tour, but we were all excited and playing very dangerously.  I remember all the jazz ex-pats were there that evening…. Sandy Mosse, Irv Rochlin and others.
     We travelled mostly by auto on the tour.  Warne and Lou loved to play this word game as we were travelling, but  I can't remember how it was played.  They were both quite amiable  and we all got along quite well.  They were both quite deep thinkers, not only in the jazz world.  Jesper was always very quiet and was intense with his electronic gear.  I called him "gadget". What a fabulous bass player.  I remember I was "cutting up" somewhere and knocked his music stand over and it put a little scratch on his bass.  I don't think I have ever been more embarrassed in my life.  He shrugged it off, but I am sure it upset him.  As Milt Jackson said "You can't unring a bell" !!!!  Jesper and I would do a couple of more dates later with Duke Jordan.
     I have a small book somewhere with all the dates, but I can't find it at the moment.  The order of these dates won't be in order, but I will speak of various ones.
     Our gig at the New Morning Club in Paris was very meaningful to Warne and myself.  It was the first time either one of us had played there.  The hotel where we stayed was just down the street from the club, not exactly the nicest place, but convenient.  I knew Lou and Warne were not very happy about it, but let it go due to its location.  I remember when I got in my room a funny situation ensued.  A woman and her friend, arrived at the room next door.  The walls were paper thin so I couldn't help hearing "Ca Vas?" and he answered "Ca Vas".  Five minutes later they were out the door...Hehehhehee, such is life...
     Of course after a sound check, we prepared for our opening night. I was quite unhappy with the drums, but "Ca vas"...hehehehe  The first night was very busy and continued to grow every night of the three days.  New Morning is a large jazz club, or hall.. nice to fill it up.  The first tune is, of course, waiting for the reaction of the sophisticated Parisian ear. After the first tune, and a short silence … the audience roared!  I could see the Parisians had ears for Warne's special approach in his playing. He definitely was, as the Radio France announcer said, a "musical acrobat".  During our stint there, I got to meet some legendary jazz greats, Kenny Clarke and Martial Solal.  What could be more beautiful than "April in Paris" and playing with Warne?
     Another interesting venue was in Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium.  We went over to the director's home, Juul, and witnessed his massive jazz archival collection.  Lou would talk about that great "hothouse" film of Bird and Diz ... A funny thing, the drums for the gig actually had slash marks in the toms. I said something and the reply was "Well, Billy Higgins played them last month!"  It seemed they got them from one of the neighbors...Hehehe...Thank God I brought a snare...The gig went very well for a full house.
      The gig in Amsterdam, “De Kroeg" was equally hilarious.  As I was bringing in my drums, someone dropped a keg of beer by my drums which spewed all over them… Lou had to play an upright piano which you could literally pull the keys out of the board…  Welcome to the world of jazz...Ca vas.
      The next gig was in Utrecht with a glorious hall with a Bosendorfer....Ridiculous to the sublime...Ack Van Rooyen played with us on the concert.  You couldn't ask for a better setting, lovely.
       We played also in "De Tobbe" in Voorburg.  That is exactly what it sounded like, a tub...Even with all these situations, Warne could still do his musical juggling.  He was unreal.
       The last gig was at Dizzy's in Rotterdam. On the way to the gig, I was terribly sick.  They would have to stop and open the door off the autobahn and let me stick my head out.  I really had the flu.  After we played the show, Warne or Lou said to me, "Man, you should have gotten sick earlier in the tour". Hehehhehe, I must have had a good night....
        Somewhere in the course of the tour, we went in to record. Believe it or not, I suggested we do a ballad album.  I felt Warne could leave a footprint like Coltrane, with his unique approach.  Maybe it was already the plan, but whatever the case, it proved to be a fabulous recording.
        I am so honored and proud to be a part of this history. In this world of "cookie cutter" musicians, Warne was totally unique, the "musical acrobat".

I have added the photos that James sent me to the Photo Gallery pages here
 Photo Gallery

I had a recent exchange of emails with Ted Brown, and I mentioned the Lennie Tristano line on “How High The Moon” which Lennie named “Lennie-Bird”.  Ted had an anecdote (one of his many anecdotes) for this as follows: 

"When Lennie wrote that line, he had no regard for a horn player's need to take a breath once in a while. That was the same problem with Lennie's line on "See You In My Dreams" where the last 16 bars had no space whatsoever for a breath. When Warne and I played that we worked it out so I would omit a couple notes in one place and he would do the same in another place so we could each grab a quick breath but there would never be a break in the sound. But with just one horn that is tough". 

All the best,   Ted    July 21, 2009 


 Thanks for the website.
My name is Joel Fass. I am a guitarist-composer living in Yonkers, NY, and on the local jazz scene for well nigh 30 years. I've been fortunate to rub shoulders with many wonderful improvisers---the tribal chieftains of this music----and Warne Marsh was one of these.
One of my oldest friends is Jared Bernstein. He is well-known as an economist now, and is Joe Biden's chief economic advisor. But years ago he was a bassist in NY. He shared an apartment with a pianist named Rob Schneiderman (also a mathematician!). They had sessions all the time in the 80s and one day, likely at the behest of Rob, Warne came over. We were young players. Rob was 25, I think. I was an old man at 28. I remember they ('they' not being Warne, let me be clear) made me wait in the other room while they played quartet for a while in Rob's room---which, you might imagine, made me feel weird. I kept hearing great sounds in there---mostly from Warne---and was dying to play. Finally I went in and remember vividly what he played, and the tunes we played (this was 1982!). Warne had a totally individual rhythmic concept, which fit him like a glove. In describing him and that day, and I have a few times, just as I've recalled a very few other special days of my musical life, I've somehow been drawn to compare him to the great Brazilian singer Elis Regina: ahead of the beat but totally secure & never rushing.  He was totally free and I felt he didn't want to be tethered to a pulling chord instrument like the piano. I also thought a lot about Bird, not to compare them. I just did is all. The thing is I felt I was involved with a special and rare creative mind and soul that day. His lines were thrilling and I felt the presence of greatness----a feeling I've rarely felt in my career to date.
On break Warne smoked reefer out of a pipe and philosophized. Well, we all did, and I remember he did not preach or talk down to us younguns. He was hangin' with the cats, that's all. I remember one of his musings like it was yesterday: 'the reason men go out and start wars is jealousy over women---the fact that they can't create life by bearing children'.
If the readers will forgive me a moment's prideful self-indulgence I also will share one of the nicest---not to mention the succinctest----compliments I've ever gotten as a musician, especially one as rare as Warne. We finished playing and Warne was putting his horn away. I was packing up and the bandstand had cleared, all to go our separate ways to the next leg of the journey. Warne turned to me, looked with piercing blue eyes right at me, and said:
 "Yeah, man. What's your name?"   

Joel Fass.  Yonkers, NY.  March 17th. 2009.

Hello Jack
I have been looking through your website. Congratulations on what you have lovingly put together, what a great tribute to one of jazz's greatest and totally unique players.
I too had the privilege of seeing Warne with the great Lee Konitz at the memorable gig at The Corner House at Whitley Bay on Tyneside back in the mid 70s. At the time I was going there regularly to listen to weekly local jazz sessions so went to this concert and I still often think about it. I'm a big fan of UK guitarist Dave Cliff - he played wonderfully on that gig too. Following that, I bought some Marsh recordings for my collection and came to regard him as one of my all time favourite players. I'm always suggesting to young players to check him out (as well as another favourite of mine, Richie Kamuca).
It's a nice thing to do something positive to help deserving artists get the credit they deserve and to have their place in the history of the music acknowledged for posterity.
My very best wishes and thanks
Roly Veitch, Tyneside, UK.  27th. December 2008.

I was a jazz improvisation student of Warne’s in the early ‘70’s.  I was a bebop jazz guitarist and was studying with Warne and Joe Pass at the time.  So many stories.  Just a couple…..  I remember going over to his house in Pasadena for lessons.  During a break he would have the chess board out, drinking and listening to Supersax recordings on his headphones – at the same time.  I remember when he performed at Donte’s with Supersax and when he started to solo, and circular breath, everyone on the stage just stepped back, Med Flory’s jaw dropped and they all just looked transfixed waiting to hear what would come next.  I started taking lessons with Warne at the music store that Gary Foster was working at in Pasadena on Colorado Blvd.  I had just taken Gary’s class at Pasadena City College (same time that all the Van Halen guys were there).  Putter Smith (bassist – who also managed a role in a James Bond movie and insisted that they pay for his entire family to go over to Europe with him otherwise he wouldn’t take the part…..) would come by to play from time to time.  Warne had a jazz improv class and was convinced that his method would allow ones improvisational abilities to reveal themselves……and they did.
Michael D. Silberman. 
Calabasas, California.  May 22nd. 2008.

I studied with Warne while he was living in Pasadena.  My lessons took place in a small building behind his main home, during the years of 1976 thru 1979.
His method of "slow improvisation", by playing the melody of a song at a very slow tempo, and each time through the song, change the melody a little at a time, was my main work with Warne.  By playing the melody, the chord changes became apparent, and there was no need to read the changes!  He told me to come back in 3 months and I did what he told me to.  When I returned, he said I was one of the few players that was able to accomplish this task correctly. 
The only other work I did with him was to listen to and study Charlie Parker.  
I am an alto player, but double on all of the saxophones, flutes, and clarinet.  I am considered the most melodic player around.   
Rob Elinson, Oceanport, New Jersey.  April 16, 2008

Following the recent addition to the Photo Gallery of the fine photos by Mark Weber of the Warne Marsh - Harold Land Quintet taken at the Hyatt Hotel, Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles back in April 1985, I've received the following message:

It was really wonderful to see actual photos of this rare session after all these years, as I actually attended that performance.  I recall it as a really scintillating collaboration, and one of the occasions when Warne just pulled out all the stops and played miraculous solos all evening.  Two great historical tenors from Los Angeles in intense interplay! It was something else. 
Harold Land was a great and serious improviser and a wonderful tenor stylist who played with some of the greatest players: Wes Montgomery, Clifford Brown, Max Roach; all of these giants are deceased now.  That he was able to collaborate with Warne Marsh with the wonderful rhythm section of Gildo Mahones, Bob Maize and Tootie Heath on this night was truly an event. As I recall it, the music was superb and full of deep feeling from start to finish.  That it was not recorded is unfortunate, but how excellent that this admirable occasion is at least memorialized visually.
Warne indeed played brilliantly, and I think he was very happy to play with these musicians; it was an exceptional night for all concerned, and a great jazz set.
I'm so grateful that these pictures exist, that seems very magical to me.

Charles Coffman.  Venice, California.  September 14th. 2007.

I used to sit in once in a while with Warne and his guys while I was a Tristano student and it was exhilarating and we would swing like mad and he just played so beautiful behind me with improvised licks that just pushed you. Anyway, he invited me to sing with the band at a posh club on the east side of  the city. The first person I saw was Jacob Javits and that put me away. I couldn't sing a note and the owner of the club turned off my mike and even my date left without me. I was so destroyed. Warne asked me to the next jam session he had  and he said "We have to let Bob redeem himself". I wailed  and was restored but the thought of bombing that bad still plagues me. That was one of the kindest things that ever happened to me as he had the depth to understand how I was suffering.

Bob Sachs.  Dania, Florida.  October 13th. 2006.

I became aware of Warne during my college years in the 1960s. Somebody played the old Tristano sides with Warne & Lee Konitz where they did “Wow” and I thought about giving up the horn right then and there. Later, I heard that recording Warne did with Lee that included “Topsy” and “Background Music” and was hooked for life!
I was able to hang out with him a little at Gary Foster’s studio in Pasadena in the 70s but never was a formal student of his. His knowledge of music and improvisation was truly remarkable. I remember hearing Warne with Supersax at Donte’s when they first started playing publicly. Med Flory decided to open up Gillespie’s frantic “Be Bop” for solos. The tempo was unreal! Jay Migliori - a very fine tenor player - went first and you could tell right away that he was hanging on for dear life! He escaped with a few “bruises” after a few choruses and sat down. Warne stood up and started playing and you could hear the difference instantly. A master improviser was taking care of business. He floated on those changes. Tempo was no problem. When he finally sat down - to thunderous applause - Med looked around at the group and said “Anybody else?”. Nobody moved. Med laughed and they played the head and out. Warne was one of a kind.

Bruce Armstrong.  Long Beach, CA.  July 10th. 2006.

It's nice that there are people out there who like to listen to Warne Marsh, I thought at one stage is was just me. He is an extremely inventive musician.
Unfortunately the current trend seems to produce Coltrane clones, who seem to be paid by the note.
Good luck with your continuing work.
Mike Weinblatt. High Wycombe, England.  26th. June 2006.

I only saw Warne play one time, at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago in the early '80s. We weren't sure if the house drummer Wilbur Campbell would be right for Warne, but it worked just fine. By the time the third set started, it was the wee hours of the morning, and fewer than a dozen of us were left in the club. Warne closed his eyes and played his heart out, chorus after chorus of "vertical improvisation," always finding another tale to weave. I think he identified with the late-night diehards, those of us who would play music or listen to it until we dropped.
Of the thousands of live performances I've seen over the last forty some years, this was one of the best.
Rest in peace, Warne.

Mike Stillman, Chicago.  May 31st. 2006.

I just wanted to share a very wonderful experience I had with Warne and his family. Back around 1981 or early 1982 I was sharing a house in Long Beach Long Island with a very fine and dedicated musician by the name of Frank Leonetti. I had gone to my lesson earlier in the week and Warne said that he was looking for a place to live for himself and his family. I told him about Long Beach and that it was a great place in the summer but cold in the winter. He asked if I would mind if he came by to check it out…I said No Problem and on that Sunday he came by with his wife and two sons. He took Frank and I to lunch and after that we had an impromptu Jam Session. Warne played a very old Alto that I used and made it sound like a new horn. The other guys at that session were Richie Califano and Ed Sorensen and I think my friend Neil Jacobsen played drums. It was so fine to hear Warne.
Anyway! God Bless you Warne! I know you hear us who miss you very much and will never forget you.

John P. Bianculli.  Queensbury, New York.  February 5th. 2006

Around 1971 or 1972 Warne was living in North Hollywood.
Emily and I went to a party at the North Hollywood house one night.  There were a bunch of guys from New York there and someone started an impromptu jam session. Warne was wandering around playing on a wind instrument like an accordion. Finally he got out his tenor and when he started playing the guys from New York were almost dumbstruck. They had never heard of Warne and when he began the Tristano-like lines they just looked on in awe. Unfortunately there was no recording instruments around so you had to be there to witness this event.  Later around that time, I met Bobby Bradford at a small club in Pasadena where Warne was playing with Gary Foster. I recall that it was very hot in L.A. at that time.
The last times I saw him, he was playing with Super Sax at Donte's and then I saw him playing in Pasadena. I left L.A. in 1975 and never saw him again.
I found Warne to be a fascinating person, extremely brilliant and just an all around nice guy.

Bob DeHay. Atlanta, GA. December 14th. 2005

I'm currently writing a book about my studies and experiences with Warne in the 1980's, I would be happy to communicate with anyone in the community interested in hearing about it, if so please contact me by email at jklopotowski@gmail.com   Thanks and I hope to hear from you.
John Klopotowski. San Francisco. August 16, 2005.

Jack, great site.
 Kudos to Mark Weber for his wonderful poem "Warne Marsh". I, too, experienced that breaking through by Marsh in 1965 at the Jazz Workshop in Boston, MA. A friend and I (in our mid-twenties) were ever so fortunate to see Warne with Lee & Lennie's Quintet twice in one week (we lived an hour and a half away and both had day jobs). Warne was absolutely on fire, electrified is the only word that fits, as Mark indicated so perfectly in his writing. I had been musically stimulated to such a degree "live" only by THE John Coltrane Quartet, which was also visually exciting. Warne accomplished the feat with "pure" improvisation.
Over the years, for me, only Warne at his best can approach the level of Coltrane's classic Giant Steps material. I do believe he was a genius, yet personally humble, and like all great artists, absolutely one of a kind.
Jo Keith
Milton, NH.  USA.  June 12, 2005. 

Dear Jack:

Thanks for this wonderful website. I'm teaching a graduate seminar called "Topics in Jazz Theory and Analysis: Charlie Parker and Lennie Tristano" this semester at New England Conservatory in Boston. The students in the class are some of the best young jazz players in the U.S. We've been studying some of Warne's solos and compositions as part of the course, and I just directed the members of this class and my other class, Jazz Styles: Improvisation, to your site. The students are quite interested in Warne's work, and I think they'll enjoy the information on your site. Again, thanks for your work on this.

Best wishes,
Allan Chase
Dean of Faculty
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 USA.  April 12, 2005.

I studied with Warne at the Hotel Bretton Hall on 86th and Broadway for about 2 1/2 years in the early 80's. I also remember two excellent players who also studied with him at the time. One was an Alto Player named Mike Kolodny. Mike was one of the most innovative players I have heard. The other student was a Tenor player named Gregg Martin. Gregg was also very cutting edge and a great player.

I remember sitting on the floor outside Warne's hotel room before my lesson listening to him practice. He would weave a mosaic of music that was the most beautiful and sensitive playing I have ever heard. I wasn't a very good student and not a very good reader so Warne focused on my ear. I would listen to solos of Lester Young and Louis Armstrong and sing them to him. He also told me to listen to Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra to really learn a tune. He said that they were always true to the song.

My time with Warne was very rewarding. He didn't want very much from life except to love his family and to play. To Warne Music was a religion that took care of everything else. He went through some pretty rough times with life but what he believed in more than anything was Music. His love of Music and his generosity to all who studied with him was very heartfelt especially to me. He was a friend and treated me as an equal even though I couldn't possibly stand in his very large shoes.

He changed my life and I will never forget him.

John P. Bianculli.  Queensbury, New York.  March 27th. 2005.

Warne starts his solo
about where Lester would be
                 on his 40th chorus
Warne is way out there already
soaring, coasting, everything at lightening speed
Lou Levy or Alan Broadbent on piano
          cool & telepathic
          laying down these complex bebop chords
and Warne is skirting over the top
          decorating everything with
                  all the hippest extensions
Nothing is for show, he's not grandstanding
Warne is the most unpretentious & unassuming man
          you could ever hope to meet
Entirely quiet off the stage
and here he is inventing new melodies
          while simultaneously dotting the tops of these chords
playing new songs every five or ten seconds
a geyser of ideas
absolutely lyrical
just burning
We could never figure out
how he could know all those notes
and where to find them
            on the tenor saxophone
and at such velocity, and
all at the service of artistry
            and beauty
a monumental testament to
the powers of the mind
and the questing improviser
That's one of the interesting things about jazz
is that you can hear a mind thinking
you can hear a brain doing its work
and Warne's brain in the 50th chorus is
      circuitry electrified crackling light flashing
We're in Donte's for the second time this week
North Hollywood, 1976, 1977
it's the witching hour 
and night after night
Warne has been blasting the socks off these tunes
everything going up in flames
            "Lester Leaps In"
            "Autumn Leaves"
            "Out of Nowhere"
            "All the Things You Are"
            "Slow Boat to China"
he's taken Lester's message
and he's delivering it to the Gods, himself
on tenor saxophone!
quicksilver luminescence
he's out there with the birds, with Bird himself soaring
completely fluid
the club is full of musicians and hipsters
we're gasping, on the edge of our seats
Warne is blazing
his eyes catatonic, wide-open and focused staring
          dead straight ahead intent on his mission
he's in a trance
and he's brought us all along with him
there is nothing unknowable about
          where he is and what he is doing
nobody can believe what is happening!
Warne has broke through
                to the other side
the glowing light of awe is flooding Donte's
he's Gone, into the stratosphere!
Warne is sheer pure energy
a life force, he is
everything we always knew
jazz could be
burning free improvisation
chorus after chorus
layer upon layer
and somehow out of it all he re-invents
the original melody!  it comes popping out
entirely of its own, organically recreated
right before our eyes
the entire club electrifies in a wave of goosebumps
our hair standing on end ecstatic
Warne is perfectly connected to the forces of the universe
and when it's all over
he lights a cigarette
--Mark Weber
[composed 25aug03]
*Donte's jazz club
 4269 Lankershim Boulevard
 North Hollywood, California
     proprietors: Carey & May Leverette.
cover charge was $2.50 to sit at a  little bistro-like table
OR it was FREE if you went to the bar!    It was just a small place. Average
size for a southern California jazz club --  fit about 120 people comfortably.
All the cats from Johnny Carson would finish their afternoon taping of the show
(the musicians in Doc Severinson's tv band) and you'd see them in there all
the time --  it was the scene up in the "Valley" over the hill from Hollywood (North
Hollywood was separated by a row of hills,   the same hills where the Hollywood
Bowl is.          At the front door of Donte's was a night blooming jasmine bush about 6 foot tall ( jazz
men, get it?) and on warm summer nights Carey would leave the door open and this
hugely aromatic jasmine smell would fill the room.         Warne died on the stage
years later. And Carey died at his desk.   I don't know what's there now.

Contributed by Mark Weber. 
Albuquerque, New Mexico.  February 21, 2005.


Congratulations Jack on your fine website devoted to Warne Marsh! This is something of real value as Warne was one of the great players of all time, and it's wonderful to be able to read the various comments by others on him and his music. I had the privilege of knowing Warne Marsh as a student in the early seventies when he was discovering a second career as a teacher -- something he came to truly enjoy.

Warne's extrapolation of melodic improvisation was an innovative contribution to 20th century music; at his best he was certainly the equal of Lester Young and Charlie Parker, his main sources of inspiration along with Lennie Tristano. The subtle brilliance and complexity of his playing make him almost too challenging perhaps for the average jazz listener, as his music is really on a par with great classical music. His commitment to linear improvisation places him on a rather lonely peak of achievement shared by few others. He was truly a musical giant.

I am sure that in the course of time Warne Marsh will emerge as one of the most incisive and impassioned musical thinkers of this era, for he was uncompromisingly dedicated to the possibilities of creative improvising based on the most thorough and deep comprehension of the interplay of melody, harmony and rhythm. Warne's solos exhibit both fire and intense intellectuality, and remain fresh and absorbing after repeated listenings. They are remarkable spontaneous compositions, full of surprises but with a superior sense of order.

His was a soul wedded to music; Warne was a great artist who cared only for creative expression of a high kind. We are lucky that he was among us. He was a great teacher also, and he affirmed for me that art is the greatest of all ways to affirm the truth and beauty of being human. Let's never forget him!

Thanks again Jack for putting your website together and contributing to the continuing celebration of Warne Marsh's extraordinary music.

Charles Coffman
Venice, California.  February 14th. 2005

Dear Jack,

What a great website. I perused all of it. The photos are wonderful. I especially liked George Ziskind's contribution -- just like Warne, hugging his horn and looking at George with those intense Warne Marsh eyes. I also like George's contribution to the anecdotes -- it just knocked me over! I might be able to help identify the tracks on "The Art of Improvising." I was the editor. Lennie didn't tell that to Warne and Warne assumed that Lennie did the editing. I did it for Lennie because he wanted a solo tape of Warne's playing from that date.
This misunderstanding wound up causing some harm and hurt feelings! I managed to give this information to Lee Konitz a couple of years ago and it turned it around for him. I was glad I was in a position to do that. Someone is writing a bio of Lee and asked me for a contribution of two paragraphs. One paragraph will be to tell that particular story. It had nothing to do with Lennie editing Lee out. It was just me making a solo tape for Lennie.

Thanks for this website.


Connie Crothers.  New York City.  February 10th.  2005.

Hi Jack,

I love the website. I’m 40+ and have dug the Lennie Tristano School since I was a child, when my father would play ‘Judy’, ‘Yesterdays’ and segments from ‘Crosscurrents’ and other related stuff on his upright piano (located in my bedroom). Warne Marsh always fascinated me. I was struck by how much he looked like the actor Alan Ladd (from ‘Shane’). In fact, Warne (and Lee Konitz, for that matter) never looked the same in successive photos. It struck me that they looked almost non-descript or ordinary. Warne looks ill on some of the photos in your gallery.  I remember learning some of his solo’s, transposing them to alto. I’d hum them for weeks, months: I still know them.  

Warne and Lee (and the Lennie Tristano School) turned me off from a lot of jazz. I liked what they were doing but little else. I liked the linear approach to improvisation (and became influenced by it). My wife and I got married to ‘Darn that Dream’ (from the Marsh/Konitz European tour: the same line-up that you saw in Whitley Bay all those years back). 

I listen to Warne every week and have done for years. I don’t know if I’ve become blinkered. I listen to other stuff but rarely for long (exceptions are: Kenny Wheeler, Dewey Redman, some Monk, Charlie Haden). If it’s jazz it has to be from The School.  

It’s good to see that your website has been such a success. I’ve got no reminiscences to give you (sorry). I’ve seen Konitz a number of times (met him once) and am seeing him again on the 18 January (Kenny Wheeler’s 75th birthday gig). But perhaps my most important live attendance occurred when I was an undergraduate at the School of Cognitive & Computing Sciences, University of Sussex. And it kind of links up with that Whitley Bay line-up.  

I was playing tenor at that time and a student buddy said that a guitarist and alto player played duets at one of the student bars on campus. I went along one Sunday afternoon and discovered that the guitarist was Dave Cliff and the altoist was Geoff Simkins. They were playing some familiar standards. One student asked if they’d play ‘Summertime’ (dreadful song!). I think it was Geoff Simkins who replied something like “I’ve got nothing new to say about that song, so sorry”. It reminded me of a story I heard about Lee Konitz: he was asked (somewhat unwisely) by a member of the audience, if he’d play ‘Take Five’. I think he replied “I wouldn’t be seen dead playing Take Five”!  

But I approached them and asked if they’d be prepared to go over some Tristano School lines. Dave Cliff was clearly shocked and quietly impressed I seem to recall. Anyway, they did go over some of those wonderful lines for the rest of the set. I don’t think that they’d practiced the lines regularly. There were a few errors. But it was great; the best live music I’ve ever heard (partly because of the relevance of it to me). I studied briefly with Simkins thereafter.  

Whilst gigging (on alto) in Portsmouth, a drummer said to me between songs that I reminded him of Lee Konitz: well, I could have hugged him, even if he was a drummer.  I play a little jazz piano now having given up the sax for a number of reasons.  

I never saw Warne Marsh but I love that man’s music, its uncompromising purity, the feeling of humility you feel if you dare to try and keep up with him. It has always been an intimidating experience listening to Warne (certainly as a sax player I feel that). It surprises me that so many pianists tended to lay-out behind Konitz but not Warne. I’d have thought it’d been the other way round. Having said as much: I find it easier to follow Warne than Konitz on the piano. 

Anyway. Best wishes to you and to all likeminded souls out there.  

Keeping Warne’s memory alive is a truly great service and I thank you for it. 

Ralph Brooker

Assessment Support & Domiciliary Service

Hampshire Autistic Society

England.    10th. January 2005

Thanks for your incredibly important work on one of the only people who understood the logical next direction for the trajectory of Fats, Prez and Bird - to pick the fattest pillars. As Bird once said to Bud Powell as they sat and listened to Warne play in the very early days "That's the next me." (recounted to me by Sal Mosca who was sitting behind them at the time.)


Michael Gold, Ph.D.  Minnesota. November 14th. 2004.

I was very fortunate to be a student and friend of Warne's in the years from 1973 until he passed away. As a beginning musician, Warne was always patient and understanding in answering questions on music styles and theory.

Warne always said that a musician should learn the original melody of the song, especially from a standard done by Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday.

Even more than musical ability, Warne was able to point me in the right direction as far as listening and appreciating quality music. I also would like to say that his wife Gerry was always very hospitable to all the musicians when we would have jam sessions at their house in Pasadena.

Here's to you Warne from one Valley guy to another.

Dusty Wood.  Van Nuys, California.  November 3rd. 2004.

Shortly after the sudden death of Warne Marsh, Henk Bernlef wrote a poem dedicated to Warne entitled "Requiem".  This was included in a collection of poems published by Henk in the Netherlands.  He has been kind enough to send me an English translation, and I show it here Requiem

One day Warner ("Warner" was my pet name for Warne, and he seemed to dig it so I kept using it right until the end) and I were standing at Second Avenue and 82nd St. waiting for the downtown Second Avenue bus to come along. And totally out of the blue, Warner turned to me and said, "You know, man, I think I am really in deep shit with Connie." (Connie Crothers, of course.) I asked him why?  He replied - and I'll never forget his exact words, and my instant comprehension of the gaffe that Warner obviously felt he made - "...because the other day I told her that Lennie was the best blind pianist I had ever heard!"

George Ziskind.  New York City.  September 3rd. 2004.

It's a pity you cannot read my articles, poems and stories about Warne. They are all in Dutch. In May I will present an hour long program on Warne starting with his work with Supersax and then on to the last music he played.  I will never forget the man. Happy to be able to listen to all the wonderful music he left us.  I'll never forget what he said one night when I went to a club in New York to hear him. I think it was the West End.  After the first set he detected me in the audience, came over to me and said: "good your ears are here".

Henk Bernlef.  Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  6th. February 2004

Just some reminiscences about Warne.

I met him three times while he was in Japan with Supersax. I first saw him at a concert in Yokohama. At intermission he was alone on stage doing something to his tenor, so I walked up the steps onto the stage and started talking to him (it wasn't a very big hall). Now I don't usually do things like that, but to me here was THE great genius of the saxophone, (well, along with Lester and Bird), who had had a profound influence on my life, and so it was something I had to do. He was reserved but friendly. We talked a little about the tour, about a mutual friend, and about jamming in clubs in Japan (he was keen to, but had not done so, at that point). Then Buddy Clark came out to check his tape recorder - he was apparently recording the concert. Warne said something like, "I can take care of the recording for you, man." Buddy Clark said pretty sharply, "Jesus - don't you even touch it!" He didn't seem to have much faith in Warne's recording capabilities...

The second time was at a concert in Tokyo a week or so later. I took along a Japanese friend of mine who managed a jazz coffee shop, and he brought Free Wheeling and the Atlantic for Warne to autograph. He was very friendly, and mentioned that Free Wheeling was unavailable in the States, that it was one of his favorites, and that he didn't have a copy.

The next time may have been the next night. I picked up a copy of Free Wheeling (it was readily available at that time), and bluffed my way into the dressing room to give it to him. He was very grateful.

The music he played was incredible, but I found it a little difficult to take in cold like that - the tempos (Salt Peanuts etc.) were so fast...

Would you believe it, but at Tokyo Station there was a full size billboard with a photo of the Supersax band advertising the concert! Unfortunately I didn't have a camera at the time...

Peter Scott.  Fukushima, Japan.  30th. December 2003

I was recently at the train station in Omiya, Japan. At the station, there was this jazz duo playing that consisted of a young female singer and a young male guitar player, both Japanese.  After their first set, they came up and started talking to me and asked me to attend their upcoming performances. I thanked them and told them who my father was. The guitar player flipped.

After the second set, I had dinner with the two of them, and the singer told me that the guitarist was almost too nervous to talk to me. Of course, I didn't want him to feel this way, and I was open to any questions he may have for me. However, God bless him at the same time. There are musicians from my father's generation that compliment me for my father's accomplishments, but nothing compares to hearing those compliments from the younger generation of players.

Pop's sweet melody can still be heard, and is still an inspiration, all over the world.

Edit as you see fit, Jack, and drop me a line when you have the time.

Thanks again,
Jason Parker Marsh.  Japan.  27th. December 2003

I was told by a friend of the family that my dad would always deny any desire to listen to music he had played before. In particular he did this with his friend Steve who had a studio in his house. The next day my dad, knowing Steve would have recorded  everything they played, would ask if he could check out the tapes.

K.C. Marsh. North Hollywood, December 18th. 2003

    I can't even begin to tell you all the story...but here goes.....

    In 1983 I was a 19 year old saxophone neophyte when my dad brought home a scrap of paper with the name scribbled Warne Marsh on it for me. He said he had met a woman who was his wife (my now good friend Gerry) and that she lived in town (Santa Cruz CA), and had I ever heard of this guy, she claimed he was a famous saxophonist. At that very moment the Warne Marsh/Pete Christlieb Warner Bros record Apogee was taped and inserted in my car cassette machine, I had been listening intently for several months at that point. Upon calling Gerry I learned that Warne was to be in town soon, and I arranged to meet him at my old high school since his son KC was playing in the jazz band and Warne was going to stop in at this certain time and talk to the jazz band.......
    I will never forget the sight of Warne walking into the Harbor High music room, a room I knew so well as a former All State saxophonist there and a graduate the year before, with a Walkman cassette player around his neck. Shortly he spoke to the class, grabbed his son KC's alto, and played a solo with the band on it. I can still see it, I can still hear it, and man it just about killed me. Afterwards I chatted with him, and we went to breakfast.....We became friends, and I saw him whenever he came to town, as well as becoming friends with Jason and KC, his sons, and giving KC some very bad saxophone lessons as a favor to Warne, to keep him interested in the music. He mentioned his various recordings, and they soon filled my music collection. He would love to come up to our house in the Santa Cruz mountains, bask in the sunshine, and smoke some of the herbaceous native I would offer. We would gather around the piano, and he would school me big time. Little did I know that my life was being forever transformed by his presence and spirit. He was so generous and giving, to such a neophyte, it just is beyond comprehension. But we had a lot of fun.......
    Not long after that I moved to San Francisco. Since I stayed in touch with Warne in LA, I soon talked to him and learned he would be in SF, this was Dec of '86. I went to hear him play, in Oakland, with Susan Chen. The next day I met up with him at some guy's house, he introduced me to him, a one George Khouri. We listened to some Joe Henderson albums, smoked some herb. Little did I know George Khouri would become a lifelong friend. I asked Warne for an autograph, on Dec 3, 1986. It hangs with the picture of him on the cover of the book in my house. It will, forever.....
    I was in the Jazz Quarters, a record store on 20th Street in SF, in late Dec, 1987. I noticed a new obituary on the wall there. Tears streamed down my face as I read the news, I was in shock. I cried and cried.
    I talked to my friend Kevin Moore in Santa Cruz, himself a Marsh student in LA in the 70's that day. All he said was, "Yeah, I thought you knew....."
    The years go by, and the more I ponder my time with him, the more I realize how special it truly was. Recently I got to hang with the boys, KC and Jason. It's eerie, how KC looks a lot like Warne, and Jason talks just like him. I have that picture, I have that autograph, I have the obit, and I have the music and memories. I still talk to Gerry, and I realize how we all miss him. George and I get together and play the lines from time to time. And I live my life, teaching music, playing music, and hearing echoes of the greatest tenors of all time, Lester, Warne and Coltrane. Warne opened the door, and I walked through...
    Thanks for helping me find my Inner Melody, Mr. Marsh. Your boys and your wife are my friends, your students keep my soul alive. Your music is timeless, and your voice echoes in my head.....he used to say it all the time....."Sing your own song, play something new....."
    I remember Warne........
Mark G. "Markos" Sowlakis, Santa Cruz, December 18th. 2003

The one thing I would like to share this evening is not a story, but rather an observation:
for me the world is a richer place due to the fact that Warne Marsh once inhabited it,
but sadly a poorer place because he no longer does. Thankfully we have his work to
turn to, and can experience his noble joy in the way that I'm quite sure he would
have most appreciated, through his recordings and the music of those he influenced

Peace -
John Klopotowski, San Francisco, December 17th. 2003.

(note:  John was both a student and featured guitarist with Warne Marsh during the mid 1980's.  John's addition to this page marks the 16th. anniversary of Warne's collapse due to a heart attack, when playing on the stand at Donte's.)

My favorite Warne Marsh story, included in my book, "An Unsung Cat", is this: a student, Claude Alexander, asked Warne if he had ever tried LSD. Warne said he had. "How did you like it," asked Claude. "It makes the notes too far apart," answered Warne.

Safford Chamberlain, Los Angeles, December 12th. 2003.

In 1983 I functioned as a driver for Warne Marsh and Lou Levy to the "New Morning" club in Paris.
Driving back to the Netherlands, Lou Levy and I were talking about politics, Warne was smoking his very strong marihuana in the backseat. Suddenly we heard his voice: "Lou, on the bridge of Star Eyes, you played one wrong chord.  Instead of..... , it should have been...."  (not being a musician myself, I forgot what chord had irritated him).  Lou of course denied having played something wrong, but asked me some minutes later at a gas station, as Warne left the car to buy some cigarettes, if I realised how obsessed that man was with his music. 
I understood that Warne was reliving the music they had made the day before.

Edo Essed, The Netherlands.  18th. November 2003.

Marsh's peculiar linear logic and behind-the-beat phrasing are the aural equivalent of well-aged scotch, and his rapport with Barry Harris represents a felicitous union of straight bebop and one of its most enigmatic tributaries, the Tristano school.
— David R. Adler

From the allmusic.com review of "Back Home" on Criss Cross Jazz CD.