Lee Konitz

All the Way (The Soft Ways)

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Veteran alto saxophonist Lee Konitz and pianist Renato Sellani were featured together in an earlier Philology CD, Speakin' Lowly; this session was recorded the same afternoon immediately following the first nine songs heard on Vol. 1; though it wasn't released right away, it has the identical high level of musicianship. The cool-toned Konitz has found a sympathetic accompanist in Sellani, who is equally adept at providing the lyrical saxophonist with suitable backgrounds while also inspiring him in his improvisations. Although Sellani isn't well-known outside Italy, he is also a fine soloist when he allows himself the space. The focus is on ballads, though all of them are approached from fresh perspectives. Sellani's introduction to "These Foolish Things" seems to toy with the listener as he plays a soft, slightly sinister vamp; Sellani also adds to the melancholy feeling of "I Can't Get Started With You" by spacing out the notes in places. "Louise" is a song that has fallen from favor over the decades, but this understated waltz-like arrangement should provoke more interest by musicians who hear it. It is difficult to approach the beauty of Paul Desmond's recordings with Dave Brubeck of "You Go to My Head," but this very dry and somewhat sparse version has its own special appeal. Even though there are numerous CDs by Lee Konitz to choose from, this amazing duo session deserves your consideration.

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