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Lennie Tristano - C Minor Complex


Presented in this transcription is Lennie Tristano's great masterwork, "C Minor Complex". The musician has an opportunity to reproduce a demanding piece in all its astonishing beauty, even though this piece was originally entirely improvised.

The written note cannot convey the sound, intention or feel of the music. For this reason, it is essential to listen to Lennie Tristano's original version, found on "The New Tristano", released on the Atlantic label. For the serious musician, I recommend singing with this recording. In doing so, all the important musical values which cannot be notated - such as inflection, timing, touch, and feeling - will be internalized in a directly personal way. This is the best approach to learning the piece so that it can be performed with both genuine fidelity to the original and a profound personal interpretation.

In an introduction to another Lennie Tristano work, "Scene and Variations", published by William H. Bauer, Lennie wrote, "one of the difficulties in performing this work is in the matter of improvising fingerings. Briefly, the clue lies in the fact that the player must develop the use of the thumb on the black keys."

To reproduce the inflection and the articulation, as well as the overall non-legato touch, I have found it helpful to judiciously use non-consecutive fingering, such as 1-3, 3-5 or 2-4.

Connie Crothers


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