Plays the Music of Lee Konitz (Geestgronden 021)

Sound-Lee! is Guus Janssen on piano, Jorrit Dijkstra on alto sax, Raoul van der Weide on bass and Wim Janssen on drums. I know of Dutch pianist Guus Janssen from his previous releases on this same label and as well as in Kevin Whitehead's great and exhaustive book, "New Dutch Swing". Young alto saxist, Jorrit Dijkstra, went to
school and still lives in Boston and has played in the Sunday Free-Style Series at CB's Lounge a couple of times over the past year. I reviewed a solo sax cd of Jorrit's last year in which he had sampled and manipulated his alto in a variety of ways, but there appears to little connection to this Lee Konitz tribute.

Lee Konitz also plays alto sax and is one of the originators of the cool school sound, which began with Miles Davis' 'Birth of Cool' recording, over fifty years ago. Konitz was one of the few alto saxists from that era not to be a Bird imitator and has continued be a singular voice on sax for his long career.

All but two of the tunes on this cd are written by Lee, with one by Jorrit and one by Lennie Tristano, a Konitz collaborator and teacher. These Dutch cats do fine job of capturing that sublime, sprite cool spirit which is no small feat. Both the piano and alto sax swirl those notes in an infectious, effervescent way. There is a nervous tension which permeates, as the entire quartet fly quickly
through Lee's "Progression".

I was just listening to a version of Lee's "Hi Beck" from 1951 with Miles and Max Roach and this quartet also do a marvelous job of swinging righteously at a moderate tempo, giving Jorrit and Guus time to stretch out their solos and sail slowly through their fine solos. Guus' solos are often dazzling as they start with nonchalant grace and soon sparkle as they ascend and spin lots of angular lines simultaneously.

"Palo Alto" has that great, quick boppin' head that the quartet seem to spin through effortlessly, with Guus weaving layers of lines around Jorrit's daredevil solo. Jorrit's "Near-Lee" features the drummer playing an island sorta groove with his hands on his drums throughout and Jorrit taking a fine, pinched tone alto solo with joyous glee. Konitz and Tristano's "Ablution" is another one of those difficult, fast boppin' gems in which both Guus and Jorrit take superb solos which are a marvel of invention and a near-furious stream of note twisting ideas being through back and forth. This is a superb and devilishly fun release and a total gas!

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