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Music By / For Lennie Tristano & Lee Konitz by Palo Alto

Albums "paying tribute" can be tricky propositions - sometimes it’s a calculated (though not "evil") move, to sell more units of the album by covering the tunes/compositions of popular or iconic performers. (I’m always amazed at albums where an interpretive singer pays tribute to another interpretive singer by covering the same songs the interpreter covered.... got that? What’s the point?!? Like, Tom Wopat sings Tony Bennett singing the Great American Songbook.) Or, it can be SO much the "faithful" homage that you might as well listen to the originals. The Italian fellows comprising Palo Alto sidestep both downsides by injecting enough of their own musical personalities while covering tunes by the masters - in this case, Cool School avatars/proto-avant-gardists Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz - making it the very BEST KIND of tribute. Nicola Fazzini doesn’t try to "sound like" Konitz - his tart, slightly bluesy style in fact is closer to the Vincent Herring/Frank Morgan axis - but he does incorporate aspects of Konitz’s cooler-than-cool style in the context of his own. [Of course, let’s not forget Lennie T’s brainy, cool compositions or his T. Monk-w/-a-hammer style.] Guitarist Dario Volpi does not, thankfully, sound anything like Jim Hall, Pat Metheny or Bill Frisell (not that there’s anything wrong with that.... except too many jazz guitarists sound like one of those fellows) - his approach, while supple, is thicker, a bit chunky, almost horn-like. The rhythm team of Gallo & DeRossi got that swing, but a very modern swing - they too are not "emulating" the approach of, say, Monty Budwig and Shelly Manne (again, not that there’s anything.... ). Plus, Palo Alto gets their point(s) across with sharp, inspired terseness: they manage to wail within 13 tracks (four originals, the rest by Konitz or Tristano) between 1 ½ to five minutes in length. If this were "dB," I give these fellows 4 ½ stars, and I’d recommend this to Konitz & Tristano fans and non-fans alike.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Palo Alto
  • CD Title: Music By / For Lennie Tristano & Lee Konitz
  • Genre: Cool Jazz
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Panastudio Productions
  • Musicians: Palo Alto is: N. Fazzini: alto sax; D. Volpi: electric guitar; Danilo Gallo: bass; Zeno DeRossi: drums.
  • Rating: Four Stars
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