Lee Konitz

L' Age Mür

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The dry-toned and very individual-sounding alto saxophonist Lee Konitz recorded frequently for the Italian label Philology during the 1990s, and this quartet session with avant-garde trumpeter Enrico Rava, bassist Rosario Bonaccorso, and drummer Massimo Manzi is a first-rate affair, though primarily in a straight-ahead setting. On most tracks, the co-leaders generally take turns exchanging solos of no more than a chorus or two in length, with pulsing but never dull support underneath by Bonaccorso and Manzi. "What's New" is played as a quasi-bossa nova, and "Cherokee" becomes a catchy samba; while "Cherokee" and "I'll Remember April" follow more predictable routes, though both are played with a lot of passion. Each musician also contributes an original: Konitz supplies an inventive march in which his alto and Rava's muted horn share a unison line before the exciting solos begin, while Rava's title track has a somewhat wandering theme but some of his best playing on the date. This very enjoyable CD is warmly recommended.

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