LEE KONITZ, BRAD MEHLDAU, CHARLIE HADEN, PAUL MOTIAN, LIVE AT BIRDLAND

Photo by Ryan Paternite
“Live At Birdland” (ECM Records) is a shimmering jazz recording that even non-jazz listeners can appreciate for its exquisite after-hours renditions of rapturous standards like “I Fall In Love Too Easily” and George Shearing’s tribute to the club, “Lullaby of Birdland.” There’s no denying that this quartet of pros, led by 83 year old saxophonist Lee Konitz, bring a moody tenderness to “Loverman” that’s every bit as wistful and encompassing as Billie Holiday’s. It turns out that this stunning live document, recorded in New York City in December 2009, was created without a rehearsal or set list by three masters and a charismatic pianist who immerse themselves in these deeply rooted melodies, gently expanding their rhythmic parameters. Whereas Miles Davis’ “Solar” is all shadows cast in minor keys, strung together by Konitz’s tart alto and Mehldau’s dark progressions, it’s drummer Motian and bassist Haden, both long associated with the ECM label, who bring an ebullient bounce to “You Stepped Out Of A Dream” and give Sonny Rollin’s “Oleo” a gratifying dose of free-form interplay. Like last year’s masterwork, “Jasmine” by Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden, the appeal here is listening to musicians with a limitless capacity for invention and who lovingly fold these tunes into breathtaking new shapes with an origami-like delicacy. (6 tracks; 71:21 minutes) 
      

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JAZZ IN SPACE: LEE KONITZ, BRAD MEHLDAU, CHARLIE HADEN, PAUL MOTIAN, LIVE AT BIRDLAND

Monday, June 6, 2011

LEE KONITZ, BRAD MEHLDAU, CHARLIE HADEN, PAUL MOTIAN, LIVE AT BIRDLAND

Photo by Ryan Paternite
“Live At Birdland” (ECM Records) is a shimmering jazz recording that even non-jazz listeners can appreciate for its exquisite after-hours renditions of rapturous standards like “I Fall In Love Too Easily” and George Shearing’s tribute to the club, “Lullaby of Birdland.” There’s no denying that this quartet of pros, led by 83 year old saxophonist Lee Konitz, bring a moody tenderness to “Loverman” that’s every bit as wistful and encompassing as Billie Holiday’s. It turns out that this stunning live document, recorded in New York City in December 2009, was created without a rehearsal or set list by three masters and a charismatic pianist who immerse themselves in these deeply rooted melodies, gently expanding their rhythmic parameters. Whereas Miles Davis’ “Solar” is all shadows cast in minor keys, strung together by Konitz’s tart alto and Mehldau’s dark progressions, it’s drummer Motian and bassist Haden, both long associated with the ECM label, who bring an ebullient bounce to “You Stepped Out Of A Dream” and give Sonny Rollin’s “Oleo” a gratifying dose of free-form interplay. Like last year’s masterwork, “Jasmine” by Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden, the appeal here is listening to musicians with a limitless capacity for invention and who lovingly fold these tunes into breathtaking new shapes with an origami-like delicacy. (6 tracks; 71:21 minutes) 
      

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