Bill Elgart / Lee Konitz / Zollsound 4

Open Hearts

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Every reed player seems to seek Lee Konitz for a duo session, possibly because in addition to being a great player, he is unafraid of tackling new music or taking risks. Baritone saxophonist Thomas Zoller invited Konitz for these 1998 sessions, which consist of nine originals and one familiar song. The brooding pulse of the opener, "100+8," begins the session with an ominous air, though the improvising by the reed players is brilliant as they are backed by Carlos Mombelli's droning bass vamp and Bill Elgart's brushwork. "La Paloma Revisited" is a melancholy ballad, suggesting the return to a town where love once flourished, but no more. The exotic, elegant "Vrindavan" is like a meditation, while the haunting "Unisono" sounds like an on-the-spot creation. Johnny Mandel's"I Want to Live" was written for the movie of the same name starring Susan Heyward as a Death Row inmate; this interpretation builds upon Gerry Mulligan's original soundtrack recording while maintaining the tense atmosphere. Zoller's "Love and Simplicity" is a melodic affair reminiscent of so many Mulligan quartet recordings. This brilliant CD is well-worth seeking.

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