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March 19, 1919 - November 18, 1978
Lennie Tristano performs in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 31, 1965.
Born during the influenza epidemic of 1919, Lennie Tristano lost his vision at age six and enrolled in Jacksonville, Illinois' School for the Blind.
He attended the American Conservatory of Music, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1943.
Initially inspired by the jazz of Bud Powell and Charlie Parker he moved to New York in 1946, though his own music would soon advance far beyond bebop.
The most significant of Tristano's earlier recordings "Intuition" and "Digression" occurred at a 1949 session featuring saxophonists Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh.
These two tracks were entirely improvised pieces with no prearranging and are considered the first recorded examples of free jazz.
Another one of his releases bearing particular significance "Descent into the Maelstrom" is an experiment in over dubbing that has been cited as a stylistic influnce by pianist Borah Bergman and others.
After recording his best known self titled album in 1955 Tristano shifted his focus to teaching remembered by students for his emphatic use of the metronome and belief in learning from the music of jazz legends.
He performed on the New York club scene at popular jazz spots like the "Half Note Club" and tour Europe during the 1960s.
A growing distrust of the record industry caused Lennie Tristano to become the first musician to start their own label with the formation of "Jazz Records."
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