A duo album of the highest caliber! U.S. alto saxophonist Lee Konitz's career encompasses the beginnings of bebop, the Birth of the Cool, mainstream as well as the avant-garde. Konitz has recorded with virtually every major modern jazz figure of the last 60 years, including Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, and Brad Mehldau.
French pianist Martial Solal has been a major musical voice since the 1950's. The two have had a rich musical relationship since the 1960s. This Live at the Berlin Jazz Days 1980 album was conceived in part as a "Lennie Tristano Memorial." Lee's studies and playing experience with the iconoclastic pianist left an indelible imprint on the saxophonist's concept, and Solal is the perfect partner for the project. A free-wheeling interpretation of the standard invitation is followed by "No. 317 East 32nd Street" Tristano's Manhattan address. Martial and Lee play the piece as if they were at one of Lennie's open-ended sessions, as they experiment with the musical possibilities.
The two take a deep bow to the master in a heart-felt "A Ballad for Lennie," and "Improvisation No.53" has Lee and Martial in an inspired duo hovering around the changes to "All the Things You Are." It's everything but "Just A Blues," as the two explore by-tonal pathways. They go on to scope out "Star Eyes" in a spacey rendition. "Noblesse Oblige" sounds suspiciously like "Cherokee," the composition Charlie Parker morphed into a defining jazz standard. The two play it with the appropriate virtuosic passion. Konitz's "Subconscious-Lee" is a bop era classic that transcends the period — an example of Tristano's innovative influence. An exhilarating exploratory session by two masters of the music.