Play Konitz

Lee Konitz / Phil Woods

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Play Konitz Review

by Ken Dryden

Phil Woods and Lee Konitz have performed together on occasion throughout their long careers, though relatively few have been recorded for commercial release. Fortunately, they played several sets together during the 2003 Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, so this Philology CD is one of four volumes which came from these concerts. The two musicians are easy to tell apart as Konitz's dryer, more dissonant style contrasts with Woods' boisterous, very melodic approach; yet together, they blend beautifully. With an outstanding rhythm section consisting of pianist Franco D'Andrea, bassist Massimo Moriconi, and drummer Massimo Manzi, the two alto saxophonists have a blast exploring Konitz's compositions, starting with the explosive opener, "Thingin'" (based on the standard "All the Tings You Are"). Konitz's late musical partner, tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, composed the playful "Bop Goes the Leesel," an adventurous takeoff on the childhood nursery rhyme. Although labeled as a medley of three tunes, the sixth track is actually a fascinating and occasionally chaotic blend of two songs based on the chord changes to "What Is This Thing Called Love": Tadd Dameron's "Hot House" and Konitz's "Subconcsious-Lee." Each musician on-stage gets a turn in the solo spotlight to good effect. Singer Barbara Casini joins the two veterans for two effective interpretations of Antonio Carlos Jobim's bossa nova classics, "Outra Vez" and "Voce e Eu." Fans of either saxophonist will consider this CD to be an essential purchase.