AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

Motivic and harmonic analysis of Warne Marsh: the Unissued Copenhagen Studio Recordings

by John Petrucelli

Institution: Rutgers University
Department: Jazz History and Research
Degree: MA
Year: 2013
Keywords: Saxophonists – United States – Biography; Jazz musicians – United States – Biography
Record ID: 1995291
Full text PDF: http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore10002600001.ETD.000068763


Warne Marsh's improvisational style during the 1970's has been overlooked by biographers (Chamberlain) and jazz theorists alike. However, this time period is significant because Marsh fully assimilated the teachings of Lennie Tristano with his major influence on tenor saxophone; Lester Young. Warne Marsh’s improvisations from the album The Unissued Copenhagen Studio Recordings (1975, Storyville STCD8278) showcase the saxophonist’s distinct phrasal structure and poignant lyricism. Within the harmonically sparse context of the trio format, Marsh is free to explore harmonic ideas that he might not have pursued because of dissonant clashes with a canonical interpretation of the chord structures. Analysis of motivic and harmonic elements within his improvisation will demonstrate that Marsh had successfully forged a unique, mature stylistic approach that was the result of the culmination of his lifelong devotion to the development of concepts originally taught to him by Lennie Tristano.