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Live-Lee by Lee Konitz with Alan Broadbent

I’d taken a friend of mine to see the Lee Konitz Trio at NYC Iridium club a year or so ago - she’s not a jazz fan per se but is an open-minded sort. When I asked afterwards what she thought of it, she said Konitz’s music reminded her of classical composer Benjamin Britten, as it was "not pretty" but possessed rather of a deeper, more complex beauty. This new live set is "proof" of that hypothesis. Drawn from three nights of live shows at LA’s Jazz Bakery in October 2000, it presents Konitz (b. 1927) in relatively stripped-down mode, as it’s just him and pianist Alan Broadbent in a set of moody, bare-bones, late-night-sounding duets.

Konitz has a truly unique alto sound, cerebral, considered, possessing some of that Arizona "dry heat," a lot closer to Lester Young than the Charlie Parker school o’ sax wizardry - and like my friend said, it’s not "pretty" but has an almost "mathematical" allure - where some saxophonists try to come on like the proverbial force of nature, Konitz’s playing is exciting like classy/classic architecture.

The very lyrical Alan Broadbent is the virtual pianistic equivalent of Konitz, with some echoes of Bill Evans and LK mentor Lennie Tristano. It’s too baroque to be minimalist, too minimalist to qualify as purely mainstream, and for "mainstream" jazz it’s more "avant" than a lot of so-called edgy players a third of Konitz’s age. Live-Lee - never mind that catchy title - is 65 minutes of superlative in-‘n’-out jazz, dry as the driest martini, as crisp as a just-opened bottle of your favorite ginger ale, smart as Albert Einstein on a date with Marilyn Monroe.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Lee Konitz with Alan Broadbent
  • CD Title: Live-Lee
  • Genre: Cool Jazz
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Milestone
  • Musicians: L.K.: alto sax; A.B.: piano. Recorded @ Jazz Bakery, Los Angeles, CA. Oct. 2000.
  • Rating: Five Stars
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