Perhaps Konitz' finest live recording, this duo with pianist Martial Solal brings out harmonic and melodic depth unparalleled in this lyrical saxophonist's esteemed career.
Catalog ID: 668
Squidco Product Code: 11529
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve 3 panels
Recorded live at 8. New-Jazz Festival at "Fabrik" on November 11, 1983 by Norddeutscher Rundfunk. New CD master April 2009 by Peter Pfister.
Lee Konitz–alto saxophone
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1. Just Friends 7:44
2. Star Eyes 7:12
3. It's You 6:22
4. Body & Soul 9:02
5. Subconscious-Lee 7:34
6. Fluctuat Nec Mergitur 6:22
7. April 7:18
8. What's New 10:22
9. Cherokee 5:46
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"A live concert recording at New-Jazz-Festival Hamburg on November 11th, 1983. In their duo, Solal's gift to Konitz is a liberation from.....inherent restrictions. This in turn inspires Konitz to follow his own lyrical impulses to the extreme-listen to how olften he stretches his line to the breaking point. This is improvisation that goes far beyond merely altered chords or variations on a theme. Each performance walks an invisible tightrope of harmonic and rhythmic agreement-alll the more treacherous for beeing completely spontaneous."-Art Lange
"Despite the many recordings Lee Konitz has made either as a leader or as a sideman -- they number well over 100 -- there is no date, with possible exceptions of Motion and Lone-Lee, that can touch this live duet setting for breaking new ground. Given his apprenticeship with Lennie Tristano, Konitz is well-known for his melodic improvising and his ability to re-conceptualize a tune. But what happens here, with Martial Solal's dramatic, often theatrical style of piano playing, is the extension of Konitz's own abilities to visualize inherently what is possible within a given framework.
What happens on a standard like "Body and Soul" is truly startling: Solal creates a nearly orchestral backdrop of the tune's harmonic and melodic architecture, and Konitz goes looking not for another way to state it, but for something in it to move out onto the ledge of. For Konitz, on this date, the place in a tune's harmonic and melodic framework where it was most recognizable became the point of departure without any knowledge of where he would end up. Solal would carry his lines further out to lunch while remaining within the meter and rhythmic parameters of the original. But given the nearly inconceivable dexterity and musical prowess at work in Solal's playing, even these were altered while retaining their essence.
On Ray Noble's "Cherokee," which closes the set, a true anthem of bebop, the pair goes deep into the tune's bluesed-out root and drags from it a skittering skein of multiple harmonies and incandescent intervals where Konitz's melodic sensibilities change the somewhat aggressive nature of the tune and make it swing along a track where its melody is turned inside out; three new skittering skeins of lyrical improvisation are introduced to Solal who structures them vertically and hands them back to Konitz to take even further before returning eventually with a radically altered but nonetheless intact version of the tune, with Solal restating the original melody and harmony to keep it honest. It's quite honestly the finest live recording of Lee Konitz that exists.-Thom Jurek, All Music
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