The players leap right in, en masse, their leader blaring with a serrated edge, conducting staccato strikes, which lead into a sparse vocal/piano section, with faint trumpet striations. Smith is on bristling form, collecting a halo of energy around his being. It's intriguing to catch Laswell in freer mode, as a sideman rather than leader, so here less inclined towards establishing dominant grooves. Smith strikes again, prompting forceful ensemble blows, with a crashing of detailed twin-drum patterns. Ibarra is the more inventive of the sticks-pair, continually introducing fresh approaches, playing with fingertips, rubbing, striking and booming, with varying degrees of sensitivity, flicking and flashing on cymbals. It's akLaff who takes care of the underlying thrust, using a more direct free jazz language. Shyu ends up being too omnipresent, rarely resting on the vocal front. Ultimately, Smith's split-nature of freedom and control attained a dynamic level, and his choice of players was impeccable, creating a rarely heard combination of styles and stances.
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.