After the disappointment of his last CD (Konitz In Rio) it’s good to hear Lee Konitz in good voice and in brilliant sound, thanks to this DDD CD.
The rhythm section is a new one for Konitz (on record at least) and whilst it is more intrusive than many he has used, the quartet mesh together very well. Pianist Fred Hersch is an almost uncannily empathetic accompanist, and the warmly sustained bass notes of Mike Richmond are complemented by the deftly sympathetic and cushioning drumming of Adam Nussbaum.
The programme consists for the most part of material that Konitz has not recorded before. Surprising choices include Sonny Rollins’ Valse Hot and Coltrane’s Giant Steps. His treatment of both these songs is entirely personal, particularly the latter where the first half of the performance is played at half tempo. With Hersch’s solo the normal breakneck tempo is restored. Sandwiched between these two are Lover Man, familiar Konitz material given an entirely fresh treatment, and Bluesette, a charming waltz.
Now that the irreplaceable Warne Marsh is no longer with us, Konitz remains almost the sole connection with the Tristano school and its highly individual approach to jazz improvisation. Konitz continues to demonstrate the vitality and originality of the approach, and long may he continue. And I suspect he will, given the availability of rhythm sections as stimulating and compatible as this one.
Round And Round And Round; Someday My Prince Will Come; Luv; Nancy; Boo Doo; Valse Hot; Lover Man; Bluesette; Giant Steps (54.34)
Lee Konitz (as); Fred Hersch (p); Mike Richmond (b); Adam Nussbaum (d). 1988.
(Limelight CD 820804-2)