Art of the Duo

Lee Konitz / Albert Mangelsdorff

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Art of the Duo Review

by David Dupont

No one has worked harder to elevate the art of the jazz duo than Lee Konitz. His 1967 session, The Lee Konitz Duets, was a seminal statement. This much-later duet session with trombone master Albert Mangelsdorff pales in comparison. Konitz has long espoused the belief that horn players can swing without a rhythm section, yet much of the time Mangelsdorff insists on serving as a faux bass -- really, tuba -- player. And when he uses his patented technique of singing into his horn while creating chords, he functions as a very simple guitar player. That said, anything with these two masters on it has its pleasures. Konitz creates tasty lines with souffle-like lightness, and when Mangelsdorff breaks free he provides some gruff, complementary solos. His use of mute on "Creole Love Call" offers a break from the session's monochromaticism. Konitz also brings some fetching originals to the session, notably "A Minor Blues in F" and "Cher Ami," which feature the kind of freewheeling counterpoint that would have been welcomed throughout The Lee Konitz Duets.

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