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Lee Konitz: Lee Konitz Plays French Impressionist Music from the 20th Century

David Adler By

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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

Title: Lee Konitz Plays French Impressionist Music from the 20th Century | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Palmetto Records


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