Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.


Lee Konitz Quintet: Peacemeal

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Starting with his association with Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz proved to be a curious and creative player who over time has pursued some interesting musical ideas quite successfully. A few years after an excellent album of duets, Konitz recorded Peacemeal, a quintet album of hit-or-miss ideas that nevertheless remains an intriguing listen decades after its 1969 release.

Despite the play on words, Peacemeal is an appropriate title for a session dedicated to pursuing three different projects at once. The first is interpretations of songs from Bela Bartok’s Mikrokosmos series, yet another attempt to fuse classical composition with jazz improvisation. This is a much more interesting idea in theory than in execution; the heads, such as they are, are clunky, stiff and martial, and the musicians don’t seem to advance into improvisation as much as escape into it. This strict adherence to form eventually gives way to a twisting and reshaping of the themes into various improvisations, an approach that the group handles well. As elsewhere on the record, the muscular drumming of Jack DeJohnette and the rubbery bass of Eddie Gomez provide an elastic footing on which the front line carves out sharp riffs and phrases.

The second project is readings of standards with the conventional heads replaced by faithful transcriptions of solos from recorded versions by Roy Eldridge and Lester Young. These tunes eventually evolve into fairly conventional (at least for Konitz) renditions, a curious method that makes one wonder what he was trying to achieve (homage to his idols, perhaps.) However, the best material on the session is that contributed by Katz and Konitz. Katz’s compositions in particular are quite radical, with melodies that dart into unexpected corners and provide a framework for loose improvisation that seems inspired by Miles Davis’s quintet recordings from a few years prior.

Peacemeal also features some awkward experiments with electronics, which were creeping their way into jazz before anyone really knew what to do with them. Thus we have, in addition to electric piano and bass, the Multivider, an alien-sounding attachment that doubles Konitz’s alto an octave below. Given Konitz’s exploratory bent, it’s not surprising that he would explore the new shades available by being plugged in, but the contraption sounds way too artificial and was fortunately abandoned by most who tried it.

Peacemeal is a restless, arty session, the product of a man who may have had too many ideas in his head to commit to any of them fully. While one can appreciate the artistry of the principal players, Konitz is at his most accomplished elsewhere.

Visit Milestone on the web.

Track Listing: 1. Thumb Under (no. 90 from Mikrokosmos by Bela Bartok) 2. Lester Leaps In 3. Village Joke (no. 130 from Mikrokosmos) 4. Something To Sing 5. Peacemeal 6. Body and Soul 7. Peasant Dance (no. 128 from Mikrokosmos) 8. Fourth Dimension 9. Second Thoughts 10. Subconscious-Lee 11. Lester Leaps In (alt. take) 12. Body and Soul (alt. take) 13. Subconscious-Lee (alt. take).

Personnel: Lee Konitz - alto, tenor, and Multivider (electric) saxophones; Marshall Brown - valve trombone, baritone horn; Dick Katz - acoustic and electric piano; Eddie Gomez - bass; Jack DeJohnette - drums.

Title: Peacemeal | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "No Mundo Dos Sons" CD/LP/Track Review No Mundo Dos Sons
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Slag" CD/LP/Track Review Slag
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Whispers on the Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "Shifting Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Shifting Borders
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Converging Tributaries" CD/LP/Track Review Converging Tributaries
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 5, 2017