280

Lee Konitz and Michel Petrucciani: Toot Sweet

Joshua Weiner By

Sign in to view read count
Lee Konitz and Michel Petrucciani: Toot Sweet Judging from their frequent occurrence in his long discography, duet sessions are among Lee Konitz's favorites. These intimate settings have also encouraged some of his best work; for example, his 1967 album The Lee Konitz Duets (Milestone/OJC), on which he performed with several diverse partners in an astonishing range of styles. The mood is more focussed on Sunnyside's reissue of Toot Sweet, a 1982 session with Michel Petrucciani originally released on the now-defunct Owl label.

At the time of the recording, the pianist was not yet 20 years old, and the marks of his acknowledged greatest influence, Bill Evans, are readily apparent. In fact, the opening track, a searching "I Hear A Rhapsody" readily brings to mind Evans' own duet version with Jim Hall from the classic Undercurrent (United Artists 1962; reissued on Blue Note). Petrucciani is his own man, however, even at this early stage; his lovely solo piece "To Erlinda" begins in a pensive Evans mode, but soon moves through sweeping runs, thunderous left-hand chords, and bluesy asides in a more original style.

Konitz, as usual, methodically explores every nook and cranny of each tune's melody, particularly on the 15-minute, abstract takes of "Round About Midnight" and "Lover Man" that form the centerpiece of the album. Although Konitz is often referred to as a "cool-toned" altoist, this is somewhat misleading; he sometimes produces a quite astringent sound, particularly in the upper register, with a bit of blues wail to it. This suits perfectly the pathos inherent in "Lover Man," which offers the best playing on the record.

On this tune, Konitz continually dances in an angular fashion around the melody, never quite actually playing it through, but revealing its every facet by a kind of musical triangulation. Petrucciani alternately prods and follows his elder partner through the tune, here offerring a propulsive, bluesy foundation, there picking up phrases of Konitz's and dancing them around the rhythm. Throughout the album but especially in this setting, the interaction between the musicians is wonderful, as they play with an attentiveness and empathy that is a joy to hear. This is a great find, and kudos to Sunnyside for resurrecting it. Highly recommended.


Track Listing: I Hear A Rhapsody; To Erlinda; Round About Midnight; Lover Man; Ode; Lovelee

Personnel: Lee Konitz, alto sax; Michel Petrucciani, piano

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Beyond The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Beyond The Moon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Routes" CD/LP/Track Review Routes
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Never Group" CD/LP/Track Review Never Group
by Mark F. Turner
Published: March 23, 2016
Read "Road to Forever" CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "(Five) Stories Untold" CD/LP/Track Review (Five) Stories Untold
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 6, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!