Scott_lee-one_thought_span3
January/February 2009

Scott Lee
One Thought
SteepleChase

Despite slight similarities, don’t misconstrue this lineup of alto and tenor sax with rhythm section as some sort reworking of the Lennie Tristano Quintet ethos. Altoist Loren Stillman and tenorist Andrew Rathbun aren’t Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. And, of course, pianist George Colligan isn’t Lennie.

Leader and bassist Scott Lee offers simple yet thought-provoking music on the aptly titled One Thought. It’s not the sculpted sound of Tristano’s best-known group, although it has some of its introverted intensity. Those who feel that jazz is losing its creative edge should hear this album and other basically mainstream offerings of the last few years.

The rhythm team of Colligan, Lee and drummer Jeff Hirshfield allows the frontline players the latitude to glide within these loosely woven musical frameworks, all crafted by Lee, a fine player both arco and pizzicato. The music is largely quiet and contemplative, yet also often shifts into freer zones of communication. The point is that it’s more about deep listening than toe-tapping and head-bobbing.

Although there are some driving solo moments on the opening track, “A.R.,” it’s somewhat past the halfway point in the album before the music gets into a conventional swinging feel with the seventh track, “The Lope,” followed by “Form and a Twist,” which is in a similar vein. “Switch” is a controlled free conversation between the two horns. The penultimate “Conversations” reverts to the quiet zone before the album closes with the bright but open “P.S. 11.”

Originally published in January/February 2009
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