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Lee Konitz & Martial Solal: Star Eyes 1983

Glenn Astarita By

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This CD reissue of the original vinyl release signifies a timeless program between two giants of modern jazz. French pianist Martial Solal and American alto saxophonist Lee Konitz are two stylists who merge years of experience for a collaboration of synergistic interplay, serving as a motivating factor here. Solal's legendary performances with Django Reinhardt and other luminaries of the day, set a foundation for a career that has spanned decades, performing with the crème de la crème of jazz artists. Konitz' affiliation with forward-thinking pianist Lennie Tristano, amid his voluminous discography, subliminally underscores the mindset of two masters at work.

With this potpourri of standards and original compositions, performed in 1983 at a German jazz festival, the musicians use depth, space, and a sense of buoyancy throughout. The underlying swing element generates the bounce and verve, as they effortlessly execute these pieces and instill a groove quotient with lyrically resplendent theme building maneuvers.

On "Body & Soul," Konitz reforms the melody line with airy phrasings and popping notes, where he also infuses lament as Solal comps and cunningly generates gobs of counterpoint. Konitz renders classic bop during his original, "Subconscious-Lee," and uses it as a solo vehicle, that accentuates his sweet-toned voicings. Then Solal communicates his dazzling technique, teeming with emotive sentiment, resonating harmonics and polyrhythmic voicings on his solo piano composition "Fluctuat Nec Mergitur."

The musicians respectively project an introspective soliloquy of sorts on the standard, "What's New," as they engage in close-knit exchanges and assimilate each other's musings via the power of improvisation. The duo closes out the program with the classic, "Cherokee." The audience's exuberant appreciation of these classic and masterful performances, transmit the duo's paramount artistry and jubilant enactments, thankfully captured and now re-mastered on disc.

Track Listing: Just Friends; Star Eyes; It's You; Body & Soul; Subconscious-Lee; Fluctuat Nec Mergitur; April; What's New; Cherokee.

Personnel: Lee Konitz: alto saxophone; Martial Solal: piano.

Title: Star Eyes 1983 | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Hatology


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