Lee Konitz

Unaccompanied Live in Yokohama

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Lee Konitz has occasionally recorded as an unaccompanied soloist, but this live session, recorded for a small Japanese label, is a rare opportunity to hear him unaccompanied on-stage. With his distinctive sound on alto sax, he overcomes the handicap of not having any accompanists. His treatment of the standard "The Nearness of You" is intricate, incorporating space between phrases. "Thingin'" is his decades-old reworking of the changes to "All the Things You Are"; this brilliant solo rendition stands up to his earlier recordings rather well. Konitz inserts brief flourishes into his laconic setting of "Darn That Dream," making it a bit more melancholy than usual. The sole medley consists of the long out of favor "Play, Fiddle, Play" and a vintage Konitz composition, "Kary's Trance," the latter which featured him playing both alto and tenor saxes in its debut recording four decades earlier. Finally, he revives another original, "Subconscious Lee," a piece dating to the earliest days of his career and one he has continued to play. The final two tracks are improvisations that add guitarist Kazuo Imai, who adds minimalist backgrounds to Konitz's flights. This Japanese CD will be very difficult to find, as it has lapsed from the PSF catalog.

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