Sound-Lee Plays the Music of Lee Konitz Geestgronden
is made up of four Dutch musicians who had an interest in Konitz, Tristano
and their circle long before this CD was organized.
Pianist Guus Janssen, whose work encompasses opera and orchestral work
as well as improv, has said that "Tristano's style fit me like my
pants, but then you have to wear the pants." Yet here in a tribute
to the American pianist's first and most famous acolyte -- and the one
who was the first to break with Tristano -- Janssen introduces influences
that the inflexible Tristano would never have countered.
Janssen's brother -- and long- time playing partner -- drummer Wim, and
bassist Raoul van der Weide, who has worked with everyone from pianist
Burton Greene to trombonist Joost Buis's eight-piece Astronotes Extended,
are along for the ride.
In the unenviable role of playing Konitz to Janssen's Tristano is the
now Boston-based alto man Jorrit Dijkstra, who previously has involved
himself in difficult but rewarding pitch-shifting solo saxophone and lyricon
work and with a trio immersed in electronics and sampling. Yet he was
already studying Konitz's work in the mid-1990s when Janssen first met
him. On this CD he too brings extended techniques and antithetical jazz
references to Konitz's Tristano/Cool school oeuvre.
Unlike some CDs, the 70-minutes program flashes by as if it's half the
length, perhaps thanks to the pop melodies underlying many of Tristano's
and Konitz's pieces.
But the treatment here is tough enough to put an edge on the proceedings.
For instance on "Ablution," which was Tristano and Konitz's
recasting of "All The Things You Are" not only can you sense
the original tune, but also the bop line underneath it. Creating melodies
in both hands that end with an EuroImprov turnaround, Janssen's work is
doubled by Dijkstra's squeals and trills in the latter half of the track.
Then there's a speedy opening of "Paolo-Alto," where the saxman's
deeper tones, near screeches, honklets and spetrofluctuation not only
excavate the artifacts from "Strike Up The Band," but seems
to introducing "I Want To Be Happy" as well. However, the reedist's
extended techniques are something from which Konitz still stays away.
in his corner, the pianist seems to be playing boogie woogie figures,
something the cerebral Tristano would likely have frowned upon in his
teaching days; while the drummer figuratively tap dances on his drum heads.
Expressing himself on the tippy-top treble keys, Janssen replicates real
honky-tonk stylings at the end of his solo.
is by choice a sloppier and harsher player than Konitz, something that's
made clear on his own "Near-Lee." A hand-clapper that features
Latinesque rhythms, the saxophonist starts off his solo with blaring duck
sounds, modulates to a fluffy vibrato, then slides up and down the scale,
with more double tonguing, slurs and burrs that any Tristanoite could
slides and strums chords, creating tiny Îtudes that seem to go off
on tangents than circle back to the main theme. Although the drum solo
almost loses the musical thread, Dijkstra's turnaround reprises the theme
and gets everyone back on track.
On the andante
"Ice Cream Konitz," individual notes are emphasized the way
tenor saxist Charlie Rouse did when working with Monk. And Janssen,who
seems to mix 19th century impressionism with splashing octaves during
his solo here, is even more Monkish than in other places. Rococo legit
formalism works in lockstep with tremolo syncopation on "Kary's Trance"
to such an extent that despite a waterfall of notes, the pianist seems
to be channeling Monk not Tristano. And is that "Mysterioso"
that gets quoted on "Hi Beck?" It certainly sounds like Monk's
music with its behind-the-beat effects.Perhaps that's why Sound Lee works
delineated homage, the four aren't straightjacketed into the Tristano/Konitz
style, but definitely include outside and more modern influences.
reviews about Sound Lee!