Joined by the Axis String Quartet, alto sax veteran Lee Konitz puts a very unique spin on pieces from French Impressionist repertoire. Claude Debussy is the album’s most prevalent composer, represented by "Rêverie," "Soupir," and "Valse Romantique." Erik Satie is a close second with "Sur Un Lanterne" and "Seul à La Maison." There are also pieces by Ravel and three somewhat less familiar figures: Fauré, Chausson, and Koechlin.
Israeli composer Ohad Talmor arranged the works, taking certain compositional liberties in the process. The music is, of course, fairly removed from jazz, but Konitz is given room to improvise. In the liner notes he discusses the difficulty of making his improvisations sound written, and therein lies the special allure of this project. Konitz has always been among the most melodic of improvisers, more concerned with weaving a lyrical line through chord changes than displaying chops and speed. He is therefore perfectly suited for this task, the result of which is far more subtle and profound than an attempt to make the Impressionists "swing." It’s surely one of the most genuine and informed "Third Stream" endeavors to come before the public.
Track Listing: 1. Bandar-Log 2. Colibir 3. Sur Un Lanterne 4. Reverie 5. Berceuse Sur le Nom De Gabriel Faure 6. L
Personnel: Lee Konitz, alto saxophone; Meg Okura, first violin; Rob Thomas, second violin; Judith Insell, viola; Catherine Bent, cello; Ohad Talmor, arranger and musical director
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.