Monday Recommendation: Denny Zeitlin Trio

Denny Zeitlin, Stairway To The Stars (Sunnyside)

Denny Zeitlin Stairway to the StarsStairway To The Stars comes from the same engagement as Zeitlin’s Trio In Concert, released in 2009. If anything, the sequel finds the pianist even more intimately engaged with the veteran bassist Buster Williams and the young drummer Matt Wilson. When this was recorded in 2001 at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, Wilson’s drive, rhythmic inventiveness and humor were just becoming widely known. He and Williams give Zeitlin sensitive support on ballads including the title tune, “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and “Spring is Here.” They light a fire under Zeitlin for a blisteringly fast treatment of “Oleo,” the piece that brought him early recognition in his debut recording with flutist Jeremy Steig in 1963. Among the highlights in the new album: Zeitlin’s audacious chromaticisms in Wayne Shorter’s “Deluge.”

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  1. says

    Great Recommendation, Doug. I discovered Denny Zeitlin when I was in college and beginning my jazz career playing upright bass in a trio 6 nights a week. He remains an innovator with such great harmonic ideas and should be a great learining resource for any players. So many of these great players remain undiscovered by the new generation, and need to be presented to them. Thanks for doing that.

  2. Terence Smith says

    Zeitlin emerged fully genius with Cathexis and Live at the Trident in early Sixties.
    I have often been glad I have the LPs, because I don’t think they have been consistently
    available in CD. And Amazon lists new copies of Cathexis CD at $ 535 right now,
    worth every penny.

    Has anybody else noticed that it took a collaborator equally adept at jazz piano
    and psychiatry to help flutist Jeremy Steig express his full genius? At the Flute Fever
    recording session, Steig is said to have warned Zeitlin that he liked to throw little
    tantrums during his solos sometimes, and Zeitlin answered, “Very well then, we’ll
    have tantrums.”

    • Doug Ramsey says

      Mosaic reissued Zeitlin’s Cathexis, Carnival and Zeitgeist in a Mosaic Select box, limited edition. The set quickly sold out and can sometimes be found on eBay at prices double, triple, or more, the original price.

      • David says

        Quickly for a jazz re-issue that is – it took them close to five years to sell 5,000 of them.