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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ethan Iverson, Lee Konitz, Larry Grenadier & Jorge Rossy: Costumes Are Mandatory

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Costumes Are Mandatory is very collegially advertised as a collaborative album featuring Ethan Iverson, Lee Konitz, Larry Grenadier, and Jorge Rossy. And while the music may indeed be collaborative, even multi-improvisational at times, it's Iverson's date and he's very clearly the leader. The record is envisioned as an homage to--"a dialogue with," according to the liner notes--the late blind pianist Lennie Tristano, who in addition to generally being credited as a founder of the 'cool school' (an oversimplification, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Lee Konitz: Four Classic Albums

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Besides being one of the few altoists that emerged in the 1950s that doesn't sound like Charlie Parker, Lee Konitz was a true musical adventurer whose explorations in free jazz, electronic instruments, and just all around anything goes sessions resulted in some of the most exciting music that came out of the fifties and beyond. His playing, which is marked by a detachment and intellectualism that can sound rehearsed, isn't for everyone, but there's no doubt that Konitz has, and ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Lee Konitz: What True Improvising Is

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Lee Konitz is legendary as one of the great individualists in jazz, an art form that has always placed an extraordinary high value on individualism and unique forms of expression. “I've pretty much dedicated myself to trying to figure out what true improvising is," he says, “as opposed to playing what you know and getting loose with it. I probably have a bit of a unique place in being able to fool around with famous tunes the way I do."

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lee Konitz / Bill Frisell / Gary Peacock / Joey Baron: Enfants Terribles: Live at the Blue Note

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At almost 85 years old Lee Konitz can play whatever he damn well pleases on his alto saxophone, and it's a good thing he does. He may currently be making some of the most interesting music of his long career. Enfants Terribles: Live at the Blue Note teams Konitz with three first-rate musicians--all jazz stars in their own right--for an album of standards so loosely interpreted that finding the recognizable melody is a bit like a “Where's Waldo" puzzle. It's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lee Konitz / Bill Frisell / Gary Peacock / Joey Baron: Enfants Terribles: Live at the Blue Note

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Super groups are, by their very nature, either bright shining stars or catastrophic exploding supernovae. Dream team basketball lineups get beat by upstarts, and the new Stallone/Schwarzenegger/Van Damme movie is sure to be a nonstarter. The reasons for the flops are usually chemistry and vision, both essential requirements.Same can be said for jazz groups. Listen to a longstanding unit work and its affinity is obvious. Assemble a quartet for a night, or fortnight and evidence of its chemistry ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Enfants Terribles: Live at the Blue Note

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Lee Konitz/Bill Frisell/Gary Peacock/Joey Baron Enfants Terribles: Live at the Blue NoteHalf Note Records2012The idea of going into a club and playing a set of standards without any plans, preconceptions or pre-arrangements ain't exactly new; it's what plenty of jazz musicians do, each and every night. But it's one thing to go in and run down some Real Book charts, head-solo-head style, and give everyone a chance to stretch out and solo ...

REASSESSING

Lee Konitz and Martial Solal: Star Eyes 1983

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Lee Konitz and Martial SolalStar Eyes 1983Hatology2009 Even in his eighties, pianist Martial Solal has proven to be the Higgs' Boson of jazz. He readily demonstrates the substantial mass he brings to music most recently on his uniformly excellent Live at the Village Vanguard: I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Cam Jazz, 2008). This recording is sub-atomic, elemental jazz ,or, in the literary vernacular, post-modern, deconstructive jazz. Solal dismantled the Great ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

New Thinking in Jazz Education: Lee Konitz and Jean-Michel Pilc

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The idea of making the mold while breaking the mold may seem paradoxical, but it's appropriate when exploring education. The education sector has become obsessed with standardization--in regard to everything from pedagogy and methodology to content--but nobody seems to address the fact that much of the content itself wouldn't exist if not for original thinkers who refused to adhere to the norms and expectations that shackle others. The very idea of learning is to better yourself and go a step ...



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