Alan Broadbent / Lee Konitz

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Live-Lee Review

by Jim Todd

This intimate live program pairs two Lennie Tristano disciples: Lee Konitz, in his eighth decade and at the height of his powers, and the distinctive, calmly extraordinary pianist Alan Broadbent. The clarity and expressiveness of these performances from the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles make it difficult to accept this was the duo's first time playing together. In working out how best to interact with Konitz, Broadbent found that less is more. Supporting Konitz with supple, swinging, spacious structures, he frees the saxophonist to create and explore. Liberated, Konitz gives himself over to the flow of his ideas and impulses, his sound and phrasing natural, unforced. Not that Broadbent is confined to the supporting role; he and Konitz each have considerable space for unaccompanied playing, joint extemporizing, and situations where the lead moves in subtle shifts between the two. In their transformations of familiar material, Konitz and Broadbent take a very non-bop approach to the discovery of new and unexpected patterns and points of view in repertoire conceived or extensively exploited by bop players. Their tactics pose intriguing possibilities for other pieces from the bop canon or for post-bop classics such as Miles Davis and Victor Feldman's "Joshua" or Sonny Rollins' "Blue 7." While Broadbent said it took a few sets for him and Konitz to get to know each other during their week-long run together, the luminous performances captured on this October 2000 recording suggest that any meeting between the two would be rewarding. Listeners who enjoy either of these masters will be hoping there is more where this came from.

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