Frisell/Carter/Motian; Winter Jazzfest; Gato Barbieri/Poncho Sanchez; George Coleman; Monty Alexander; Lee Konitz
Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz remains a prolific performer, even now that he's nudged into his eighties. The man looks at least a decade younger than this, and hardly needs the stool that sits to the left of his big band ranks. Konitz has mostly been found in small group settings of late, but with this large-scale project he's returning to the format that was his earliest jazz love. The recent Portology album featured Portugal's Orquestra Jazz De Matosinhos, directed by Ohad Talmor, a French-born Brooklynite who's been arranging several Konitz projects over recent years. The leader is an almost constant focus, with this New York ensemble manifestation acting as a lush surround for his serpentine solos. The charts don't step far outside of the modern swing territory, but Talmor still makes a handful of staccato stormings, prompting some complex chops and curves from the horn ranks. The band's guitarist is their wild card, rearing up out of a conventional sonic palette with his slightly corroded edges, taking rare moments of attention away from the supple Konitz core.