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

Title: Toot Sweet | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Trane 90" CD/LP/Track Review Trane 90
by Jim Trageser
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "O Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review O Horizonte
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Seaside" CD/LP/Track Review Seaside
by John Eyles
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "E.S.T. Symphony" CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Standard Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Standard Blue
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 3, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.