Search - Lee Konitz, Marc Johnson, Joey Baron :: Sound of Surprise

Sound of Surprise
Lee Konitz, Marc Johnson, Joey Baron
Sound of Surprise
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

The great Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown used to get up slowly after he'd been tackled, whether he was hurt or not. If he always did this, Brown reasoned, the opposition could never tell if they had inflicted any ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Lee Konitz, Marc Johnson, Joey Baron, John Abercrombie, Ted Brown
Title: Sound of Surprise
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA Victor Europe
Original Release Date: 3/7/2000
Release Date: 3/7/2000
Album Type: Import
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Cool Jazz, Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 743216930920

The great Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown used to get up slowly after he'd been tackled, whether he was hurt or not. If he always did this, Brown reasoned, the opposition could never tell if they had inflicted any damage. He would rise to his feet like an old man, leaving observers to wonder if he'd really slowed down. Phlegmatic alto saxist Lee Konitz has probably never before found himself in the same sentence with Jim Brown. But, like the wily fullback, Konitz has made it impossible for the rest of us to tell if he's gotten old. True, he helped Miles Davis launch his Birth of the Cool in 1949. But since then, Konitz has consistently worked to prune his style of ornamentation, to leave unexpected spaces between his phrases, to avoid fast, note-filled passages when less busy is best. This paring down has resulted in one of the most distinctive styles in all of jazz, one in which Konitz sounds ever fresh because it doesn't depend on youthful energy or knuckle-busting technique. So even Konitz veterans can rejoice in Sound of Surprise, on which he simply does what he always does--play standards and his own relaxed originals at medium tempos. Tenor saxist Ted Brown and an all-star rhythm section of Joey Baron (John Zorn's favorite drummer), Marc Johnson (Bill Evans's last bassist), and guitar hero John Scofield support Konitz with the calm zeal of true believers. The only false note lies in the clichéd album title, which represents the umpteenth use of critic Whitney Balliett's famous definition of jazz (Jeez, is he getting royalties?). The phrase lost its cachet long ago--something you still can't say about Konitz's music. --Neil Tesser

CD Reviews

Sound of Surprise
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As a student of Lee Konitz's I came to appreciate his artistry and consummate integrity which he has consistently demonstrated throughout his career. His most recent release, "Sound of Surprise" is an excellent example of his skills as both an improviser and composer. It is especially gratifying to see Lee featured on a "high profile" label (BMG) where his music will (hopefully) be exposed to a wider audience. As mentioned in the liner notes, Lee's penchant for creating original improvisations that are truly "in the moment" can sometimes yield inconsistent results, but with this session he really conveys his musical philosophy more clearly than I have heard in some of his other recent recordings (is it just me or are there others who wonder why "Another Shade of Blue" was even released?). "Sound of Surprise" is a fine introduction to Lee's music for those unfamiliar with his work and it most definitely belongs in any long-standing Konitz fan's collection."
Major-label recognition (and about time)
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 04/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Since his days with Verve and Milestone Konitz has had a prolific recording career, but one mostly sustained on small labels. They have often served him well, but it's great to see him finally get some recognition from major labels.This disc assembles a first-rate band to perform a set of Konitz tunes (unusually for him, no standards, though of course many of the tunes are based on standard changes). The band contains Ted Brown, a Tristano-associated tenor-player; John Abercrombie on guitar; Marc Johnson on bass; and Joey Baron on drums.It's a good album, though I'm not sure it's quite one of Konitz's finest. There's some absorbing blowing on "Hi Beck" & "Thingin'", and a terrific free-jazz piece called "Wingin'". Brown and Abercrombie seem to be having something of a quiet day (& seem to recognize some mutual incompatibility: many of the tracks either lose the tenor or the guitar to make the group a quartet). The most interesting interaction often is that between Konitz & the bass and drums. (Oddly there's little of the twinned-saxophone simultaneous improvisation that one associates with the Tristano School.)In short, a good disc, well worth picking up. Not quite the best of recent-vintage Konitz--perhaps his work on Kenny Wheeler's _Angel Song_ might be closer to that."
A Konitz Classic !
H. J. Sandford | Yorkshire, England | 06/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A true veteran and classic in the world of jazz Mr Konitz has hopped, skipped and jumped around many labels. This one however is every bit as impressive and is in fact one of his best. His altoist unique dry sound providing an exceptional sound in the field of jazz, this album also having the luxury of rarely recorded tenor saxophonist Ted Brown. Konitz's rarely found improvision of mixing old and new is the making of this supberb cd and I commend it to all Konitz fans and anyone who truely appreciates good sax!"