There are many jazz albums on the market that practically scream "All-Star Session! Everyone playing on this album is a big shot in his/her own right! Buy it!" Of course, many such albums are magic and worth the hype - others can be (a lot) less than the sum of their parts. Every once ‘n’ awhile though, an album comes along and there’s no hype, no fanfare, no "big names" in big print plastered on the front cover to lure the fan into its embrace - just an exemplary session of modern cool jazz performed by seasoned pros, performed with verve, lots of imagination and lean, self-effacing economy.
As you could prob’ly see coming up Fifth Avenue, On Broadway Vol. 3 is one such platter. Yes, it’s all rather "standard" standards - hence the "B’way" tag - and all the hepcats involved are established leaders, with one or two bona fide Era-Spanning Legends (Lee Konitz, Chas. Haden). Yet, there’s 10, count ‘em, 10 tracks of inspired brilliance applied to these old warhorses: note the way the unaccompanied saxes of Konitz and Joe Lovano gracefully intertwine/interact like wisps of smoke, then dancers, on "Weaver of Dreams" and the wry, crackling, hard-swinging duet Lovano and Motian make out of "The Way You Look Tonight." You get the big-toned Lovano tenor, the floating, Jim Hall-on-hallucinogens Bill Frisell, the sturdy Charlie Haden, the crisp, ultra-focused Paul Motian, and given "featuring" credit, Lee Konitz (alto & soprano) - it’s 50s cool jazz (implacable, smooth, confident) with a healthy pinch of the avant-garde (spacious/use of silence, elasticity re: form), it swings (at times hard, as on "Pennies From Heaven"), and it was originally released on JMT in the early 90s but is now back in black on W&W. It ought to be got.