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Lee Konitz/Ted Brown: Dig-It

Mark Corroto By

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Lee Konitz and Ted Brown have lived many lives since they played together as students and sidemen of pianist Lennie Tristano more than fifty years ago. Konitz started with Claude Thornhill’s Orchestra before working with Gil Evans and Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool Nonet. His familiar alto saxophone was featured in what many say was the first recorded free improvisational music. While working in somewhat obscurity, Konitz has managed to record hundreds of records on mostly minor labels. Ted Brown did one better, dropping out of jazz to find a day gig. Both men have made a return to jazz, Brown at the encouragement of his students and Konitz on several critically acclaimed releases notably Alone Together with Charlie Haden and Brad Mehldau. This reunion in a pianoless quartet is all about their mentor, Lennie Tristano. His music (their music) of the 1940/50’s paralleled bebop, but in a complex multi-layered way. Tristano was said to have instructed the two to play “...deliberately uninflected, in a neutral tone, concentrating instead on the solo.” This style, reflected on this release, is anything but unemotional. Konitz and Brown’s cool tones create a delicate internal tension that is and was a bridge between Charlie Parker and Ornette Coleman. Can we have more?

Track List:Smog Eyes; Dig-It; 317 E. 32nd Street; Dream Stepper; Down The Drain; Hi Beck; Feather Bed; Kary’s Trance; Subconscious Lee.

Personnel: Lee Konitz

Title: Dig-It | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records

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