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To be able to hear the hesitancies and offerings of vivid thought and in turn the delicate reactions of exchange is to hear the poetry of jazz at its elemental level. This is the accomplishment of a recent Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, and Charlie Haden trio recording entitled: "Another Shade Of Blue."
This CD is the companion to "Alone Together," both discs taken from a live recording originally scheduled to be a Konitz and Haden duet. In the liner notes, Haden describes how he surprised Konitz with the young pianist making up an impromptu trio. Konitz rolled with the ruse and out of this odd arrangement arose two nights of music that will be remembered as one of the highlights of late 20th century jazz.
As promised, Lee Konitz does play his own shade of blues, a contemplative, spare blues with a reflective depth that sets the tone for these superb musicians. This Konitz is not the be-bop wizard of "Subconscious-Lee" or the supposedly austere master of the Tristano years but simply one of the great musicians of our time weaving a magic that pushes the young Brad Mehldau beyond his caution, and nudges the great bass master Charlie Haden into a couple of solos that are among his very best. The Mehldau and Haden interactions make for a continually interesting dialog as does Mehldau's subtle accompaniment to Konitz's solos.
"Another Shade Of Blue" has the feel of a long ballad. It is an intimate trio journey worthy of marking the close of our magnificent century of jazz.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.