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Everything’s Great in Guelph — Unless You Ask Sainkho Namtchylak

Lee Konitz

Alto Saxophonist Lee Konitz and pianist Frank Kimbrough played a one-time only duo performance at the Dayton Art Institute on Saturday, January 20, under the auspices of Cityfolk, Dayton’s jazz and ethnic presenting organization. Cityfolk’s Dave Barber introduced Konitz and he came out to play an extended solo improvisation on Cole Porter’s “The Song is You.” He then stepped to the microphone and feigned ignorance as to where he was. “I do so much traveling,” he said “that you all look alike to me.” He injected dry humor throughout his duo performance with pianist Frank Kimbrough.

After introducing Kimbrough, Konitz remarked that we would be hearing a lot of standard tunes, but in a different way. True enough. At 73, his alto still soars and he is as cerebral as ever. Kimbrough, some 29 years his junior, also puts a lot of thought into his playing. The two men meshed beautifully, mostly improvising with wisps of the melody line coming and going. They played “Sweet and Lovely,” Bronislaw Caper’s “Invitation,” Duke Ellington’s “Prelude To a Kiss” and “Stella By Starlight” in this manner, then closed out the first set with a romping version of Charlie Parker’s “Cool Blues.” Konitz dedicated “Prelude” to the memory of former Ellington saxophonist and Kettering resident Norris Turney who died a few days before the concert.

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