Well into his eighties, alto saxophone grand master Lee Konitz continues to come up with fresh approaches playing modern mainstream jazz with an edge. Teamed here with the multi-national trio dubbed Minsarah, Konitz is reunited with German pianist Florian Weber, himself an iconoclast and progressive thinker. Recorded at the historic Village Vanguard in N.Y.C. on two separate nights gives any prepared listener all the challenges and satisfaction one could ask from the vaunted and still viable Konitz. If you've heard a thousand versions of the bop flag waver "Cherokee," perhaps the East Indian-flavored and churning rendition by Konitz and his charges will enlighten you. Originals like the pensive but easy swinger "Subconscious-Lee" or the soul/spirit song "Kay's Trance" will convince you that the saxophonist is still quite capable of digging in and standing his ground, physically or emotionally. While a variation of "All The Things You Are" that Konitz has dubbed "Thingin'" always hits the mark with deft chord substitutions, it is never played the same way twice . Whether in fleet bop constructs, breathy but concise long tones, or choppy off-minor phrases, Konitz always makes sure that every single note counts. Weber's feature "Color" sans the alto, has the pianist stretching out in morning dew refrains then cutting loose, and again backing down dynamically in complete command of his instrument. Bassist Jeff Denson (from San Diego) and drummer Ziv Ravitz (a native of Israel) round out the New Quartet, supplying Konitz with grace or firepower galore on this impressive recording that hopefully yields follow-up volumes, either from the Vanguard or other hallowed grounds.
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos
feat: Lee Konitz Quartet