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Lee Konitz: Lee Konitz Meets Alessandro Lanzoni Trio (2009)

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Lee Konitz: Lee Konitz Meets Alessandro Lanzoni Trio How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

This CD is exciting enough to require several titles, beginning with Lee Konitz meets Alessandro Lanzoni Trio, then Poetical Lee, then 81+15=96!, before concluding with the parenthetical (for Bill Evans). But it's the exclamatory equation 81+15=96! that's at the heart of the enthusiasm, declaring the respective ages of altoist Konitz and pianist Lanzoni. There's a celebration of survival here, as much for a style as a senior musician, for Paolo Piangiarelli has long championed bop-era American saxophonists—his Philology label celebrates knowledge of Phil Woods, not a general love of knowledge, and its greatest project is its many volumes of Charlie Parker ephemera.

Some of the gems of the catalogue are Konitz's meetings with sublimely lyrical Italian pianists, most notably Enrico Pieranunzi
Enrico Pieranunzi
Enrico Pieranunzi
b.1949
piano
and Stefano Battaglia
Stefano Battaglia
Stefano Battaglia
b.1965
piano
. It's a distinct tradition that has transformed the initial influence of Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
into a special national lineage, and the 15 year-old Alessandro Lanzoni is its latest incarnation. At this stage in his development, he's no Pieranunzi—nor is anybody else—but he's a compelling player in a thoughtful vein, already more than promising. There's real feeling and invention in his playing rather than the rote learning that might be feared. It's Konitz, if anyone, who's showing his age, sounding at times more tentative than usual, but even at 80 (the session took place a mere three days after his 80th birthday) he's a genuinely improvisatory player, taking chances, still looking for the road not taken. Together he and Lanzoni achieve an almost heartbreaking sweetness on the ballads "Never Let Me Go" and "You Must Believe in Spring" (surely the group's theme song). It's a touching and evocative encounter, fully worthy of Evans' memory, with able support from bassist Ares Tavolazzi—a fine soloist—and drummer Walter Paoli, whose names appear in the liner notes rather than in the credits, evidently neither old enough nor young enough to qualify for back panel listing.

Track Listing: The Touch of Your Lips; Let's Have A Talk; Peri's Scope; Never Let Me Go; Funkallero; You Must Believe in Spring; In Your Own Sweet Way; Nardis; Beautiful Love; Body and Soul.

Personnel: Lee Konitz: alto saxophone; Alessandro Lanzoni: piano: Ares Tavolazzi: bass; Walter Paoli: drums.

Record Label: Philology Jazz Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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