May 28, 2007
It is nearly impossible to keep up with the vast discography of Lee Konitz, as he has recorded many releases in Europe and Japan, in addition to his numerous U.S. recordings. This 2006 session for the Italian Philology label is an unusual project for the alto saxophonist, as he focuses exclusively on the works of Wayne Shorter. Joined by tenor and soprano saxophonist Claudio Fasoli, along with pianist Paolo Birro, bassist Ares Tavolazzi, and drummer Stefano Bagnoli, Konitz responds to Shorter's music on his own terms. The leader's haunting alto sax adds a new dimension to the delicate "Infant Eyes." "Black Nile" is a little rough in the opening, as Fasoli's soprano doesn't blend all that well with the alto at first, though things improve. The modal tune "Footprints" has long been a favorite of jazz musicians for jamming; this tense interpretation begins with the rhythm section alone, with the reeds added later; Konitz's solo is especially inspired. The remainder of the session has a few rough spots that might have been eliminated with an additional day of rehearsal, though the music is never dull.
Ken Dryden, Rovi