Monday, July 25, 2011
Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian: Live at Birdland
Konitz's impeccable bandmates respond with a sense of intense exploration and introspection. Live at Birdland contains six performances, and all but one are essentially ballads, allowing the players to work at a ruminative pace Inside these medium to slower tempos, the band is conversational and thoughtful, debating each chord, going off on tangents, making risky arguments or coming up with some daring theories. It is consistently fascinating listening, the kind that requires concentration and involvement.
Read my full review of Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian: Live at Birdland HERE.
The quartet, taken as a whole, sets Konitz in good contrast and makes a compelling case that it’s more important what notes you choose than whether they are played with brilliant technique. Listening, for example, to Konitz and Motian improvise a duet on “Oleo” at first is a truly fascinating conversation. And when Mehldau joins, tartly and minimally, then Haden as well—you have a great band on your hands.