Konitz from New York
J.S. Russell | Vancouver, BC Canada | 05/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not Lee Konitz's most challenging work. The arrangements are, for the most part, straightforwardly presented, and the soloing does not go way outside. But the playing is wonderfully spontaneous and lyrical, the members of the quartet clearly enjoy playing with each other in this mode, and their individual styles complement each other exceptionally well. Konitz's penchant for long, uncluttered, reflective alto sax lines is especially well supported by pianist Harold Danko's lush chording and by Marc Johnson's clean, refined bass playing. The first cut, Candlelight Shadows, written by Danko, presents a catchy, sophisticated tune quite appropriate to the title of the album. Relaxed, warm solos here from Konitz, Danko, and Johnson, while drummer Adam Nussbaum keeps the tension up to add an edge to all the nice sounds (we're in New York, after all). Limehouse Blues has Konitz showing off some unusually gritty playing. Konitz's own Dream Variations, along with the standard Invitation, show him at his meditative best -- worth many listens. The remaining pieces (standards and another piece by Konitz) are easy to listen to and worth returning to. Konitz's alto sax is especially well recorded on this CD. If you liked the Konitz Quartet's highly regarded and slightly more recent Jazz Nocturnes (with Kenny Barron), you won't be disappointed by this mainly overlooked album."