Dialogues may be one of saxophonist Lee Konitz's best albums in a discography both prolific and still expanding. The sounds of Bert van den Brink (piano), Hein Van de Geyn (bass) and Hans van Oosterhout (drums) blend perfectly with the leader's alto sax. So attractive is the sound that one hopes this session is not a one-off affair.
Starting with a joyous, swinging version of "East of the Sun, Konitz'a improvisation blurs the line between melodic statement and soloing. "Yesterdays, a favorite of jazz improvisers, is also deeply touchingit's clear that Konitz's hero is Lester Young. His statement is an alternate, swinging, singing melody and certainly not a collection of licks designed to impress. Monk recorded "Kojo No Tsuki as "Japanese Folk Song, to be eventually released on Straight, No Chaser (Columbia, 1966). The Konitz/van den Brink version is no less beautiful but, of course, receives a very different reading.
One is reminded of Keith Jarrett's beautiful Belonging (ECM. 1974): music that's intelligent but not afraid to be simple and direct. Furthermore on "Thingin', Van de Geyn's short bass solo invokes Charlie Haden's playing alongside Jarrett with a certain similarity of directness and lyricism in his playing.
Far from being a monochromatic approach to a jazz quartet presentation, each piece is unique and fresh, moving from solo to duo to full quartet conversations that renew faith in the art of jazz communication. Dialogues, the CD title, says it all.
East of the Sun; Yesterdays; Kojo No Tsuki; Spring Fever; Thingin
Lee Konitz: alto saxophone; Bert van der Brink: piano; Hein Van de Geyn: bass; Hans van Oosterhout: drums.