Underrated Genius, part 354: When folks bandy about the names of the great 20th century jazz pianists, the names Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Bud Powell, and Keith Jarrett are heard (no problem there), but Lennie Tristano is not mentioned nearly often enough. Even among iconoclasts like Monk, C. Taylor & D. Brubeck, LT was/is unique: He had a heavily percussive, almost plodding approach that made the piano sound like a marimba recording played at ¼ its real-time speed, and he anticipated jazz's 60s/70s avant-garde in that his solos don't "swing" in the usual sense, but the inner fire is more cerebral in nature yet is nonetheless compelling. (In this sense, he brings to mind the great pianist Andrew Hill -- see his classic Blue Note albums.) LT & his posse recorded what may be jazz's very first totally free improvisation for Capitol in the late 1940s. Tristano was originally issued in 1955 on Atlantic Records and features his greatest acolyte, the great (& still very active) lithe-toned alto sax demigod Lee Konitz along with the more conventional but solid classic bop rhythm team of Gene Ramey and Art Taylor. For those who've worn out their vinyl AND compact disc versions, you may replenish here; those digging sounds tres avant need to hear one of the Forgotten Daddies of the New Thing In Jazz. LT = an avant-gardist in cool jazz clothing.