This unusual two-CD set not only reissues the original LP of the same name but three other rare Verve LP's from the 1950's. Altoist Lee Konitz (on "An Image") is showcased during a set of adventurous Bill Russo arrangements for an orchestra and strings in 1958, pops up on half of Ralph Burns' underrated 1951 classic Free Forms (the most enjoyable of the four sets) and meets up with baritonist Jimmy Giuffre, whose arrangements for five saxes (including the great tenor Warne Marsh) and a trio led by pianist Bill Evans are sometimes equally influenced by classical music and bop.
With the superb packaging and quality of sound for which the Swiss hatOLOGY label is noted, and the adventurous, Tristano-tinged blowing for which saxophonist Lee Konitz is known, this set of mostly originals ("Alone Together" being the exception) should satisfy a broad range of listeners. Joined by pianist Don Friedman and guitarist Attila Zoller, the trio dances gently with nuanced patter and exquisite precision, creating minor gems of graceful expansion.
Reissued on CD by the Black Saint/Soul Note labels, this entry from Paul Bley's IAI label features fairly free playing from an unusual trio comprised of Lee Konitz (on alto and soprano), keyboardist Bley and Bill Connors on electric and acoustic guitars. Actually, due to the free nature of the pieces, the music is less exciting than one might hope. Everyone takes chances in their solos but several of the pieces wander on much too long. Overall this session does not reach the heights one might expect from these great players.
This reissue of Fusion and Thesis, the two albums the new Jimmy Giuffre 3 made in 1961, prior to their breakthrough and breakup in 1962, is nothing short of a revelation musically. Originally produced by Creed Taylor, who was still respectable back then, the two LPs have been complete remixed and remastered by ECM proprietor and chief producer Manfred Eicher and Jean Philippe Allard and contain complete material from both sessions resulting in one new track on Fusion and three more on Thesis.
This excellent set gives one a definitive look at altoist Lee Konitz at a period of time when he was breaking away from being a sideman and a student of Lennie Tristano and asserting himself as a leader. With pianist Ronnie Ball, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Alan Levitt, Konitz explores a variety of his favorite chord changes, some of which were disguised by newer melodies such as "Hi Beck," "Subconscious Lee," and "Sound Lee." Among the other high points of this well-recorded set are "Foolin' Myself" and a lengthy exploration of "If I Had You."
This LP comprises one of altoist Lee Konitz's greatest sessions. In 1967 he recorded a series of very diverse duets, all of which succeed on their own terms. Konitz is matched with valve trombonist Marshall Brown on a delightful version of "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" and matches wits with the tenor of Joe Henderson on "You Don't Know What Love Is." He plays "Checkerboard" with pianist Dick Katz, "Erb" with guitarist Jim Hall, "Tickle Toe" with the tenor of Richie Kamuca (Konitz switches to tenor on that cut), and an adventurous and fairly free "Duplexity" with violinist Ray Nance. Konitz also has three different duets in five versions of "Alone Together" and, on "Alphanumeric," welcomes practically everyone back for a final blowout. The music ranges from Dixieland to bop and free, and is consistently fascinating.