Lee Konitz

The Real Lee Konitz

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This set is the product of Lee Konitz' decision to record his quartet during the second half of a two-week stint in 1961 at the Midway Lounge in Pittsburgh. Bassist Peter Ind served as recording engineer, which essentially involved his pressing the record button on the tape machine in the dressing room and then running to join the others on stage. The result of this low-tech production is a fine document of Konitz playing live in a fairly straight-ahead setting. The sound is good and places the leader's alto sax at the forefront, as he floats his sinewy, pleasantly acerbic sound over the attentive work of the rhythm section. Konitz edited the tapes to preserve the best of the group's work, and to exclude technical glitches. For this reason, some of the tracks are not complete performances: two have fadeout endings, and one ends somewhat abruptly. To Konitz' credit, though, the edits do not jar, the fades are smooth, and the set remains a cohesive representation of this group at work. Ind, drummer Dick Scott, and guitarist Billy Bauer provide resourceful, responsive support. While Bauer's inventive rhythm work is its customarily attractive contribution, it would have been nice to have had more of his solo work included here. Even on a duet with Konitz on "You Go to My Head," Bauer's role is strictly accompaniment. That said, he's brilliant in the supporting role and the track is a highlight. Trumpeter Don Ferrara plays on two tracks, but he is not critical to the main event of Konitz captured live with a knowing, simpatico rhythm team.

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