1. Round and Round and Round
2. Someday My Prince Will Come
5. Boo Doo
6. Valse Hot
7. Lover Man
9. Giant Steps
Lee Konitz – Alto sax, soprano sax
Fred Hersch – Piano
Mike Richmond – Bass
Adam Nussbaum – Drums
Original release 1988/1995 Music Masters Catalogue.
This release 2008.
Lee Konitz has had a varied career. I first heard him
on a 10-inch LP with the Stan Kenton Band called Sketches on Standards:
in my opinion one of the finest albums the Kenton Band ever made.
Lee’s contribution was significant. He had what at the time was a
unique sound and every alto player around had a go at copying him.
It is not a sound he uses today, as this album demonstrates, but there
are odd glimpses of the sound from years ago.
For some reason, which I find difficult to understand,
every piece on the album is in ¾ time: an interesting challenge, but
to what point? There are two Konitz originals, the title track and
Boo Doo. The majority of the remaining tracks are either standards
or jazz standards.
I enjoyed Lee’s playing on this album. I must admit
to doubting whether I would, because some of his work which is of
the totally free-form variety left me cold and totally bored. Here
he benefits from having a good rhythm section; I was particularly
impressed with the piano playing of Fred Hersch.
Valse Hot, the Sonny Rollins composition, is
particularly successful, which may because it was created to be played
in this metre. Many of the tempos chosen are somewhat similar and
this does not do much for sustaining interest by the listener, especially
as they are all in ¾ tempo.
Bluesette is another good track. Once again
the Norman Gimbel/Jean "Toots" Thielemans tune was written
to be performed at this tempo in this metre, and it therefore sounds
more natural. The star of Giant Steps is without doubt Fred
Hersch; his solo is full of invention.
To purchase this album, you need to be a Lee Konitz
aficionado and to be fond of improvisations in ¾. I enjoyed hearing
it, but doubt it will be a regular on my CD player.
see also review
by Jonathan Woolf