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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf


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LEE KONITZ

Round & Round

Nimbus NI 2703

 

 


1. Round and Round and Round
2. Someday My Prince Will Come
3. Luv
4. Nancy
5. Boo Doo
6. Valse Hot
7. Lover Man
8. Bluesette
9. Giant Steps

Lee Konitz - Alto sax, soprano sax
Fred Hersch - Piano
Mike Richmond - Bass
Adam Nussbaum - Drums

 

Jazz musicians lead hectic and unpredictable lives and for the most part longevity is not a genetic trait. Lee Konitz is one of the exceptions. As a participant in the cool and bop movements of the 40s and 50s and a seminal figure in Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool album in 1949, today in his 80s, Konitz is still playing. As recently as February 25, 2011 in New York City, he took part in a Jazz at Lincoln Center concert for the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters series. This disc, however, was originally recorded in 1989, with Konitz offering a sense of innovation in his performance.

The unusual concept of this album is that all the tunes are played in _ time, which as one might deduce is a highly eclectic construct. While Someday My Prince Will Come and Sonny Rollins' Valse Hot were originally written in this time signature, most of the other tunes were not, and thus the concept does not always provide the desired effect.

Konitz has generally been categorized by flowing long lines and a deliberately lean tone and these characteristics are in evidence in the tunes on the disc. In addition to the two previously noted compositions, the waltz theme works particularly well on Lover Man where Konitz demonstrates a great range of feelings within the predetermined rhythmic boundaries. However the propulsive nature of John Coltrane's masterpiece Giant Steps is not well served by the constraints of the waltz theme, despite every effort made by the group. Throughout the album the strong rhythm section provides unwavering support, with pianist Fred Hersch bringing a pointed and versatile artistic sharpness to the proceedings.

Over his long career, Lee Konitz has been a model of unaffected improvisation and has always played with intelligence. This album is no exception.

Pierre Giroux

 

See also review by Jonathan Woolf



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