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Lee Konitz and Franco D’Andrea: Inside Cole Porter

Once again in what now appears to be his favorite setting, altoist Lee Konitz, the prototypical reflective improviser, here focuses his sights on a mere handful of the hundreds of fruitful Cole Porter standards, but what he does with them offers the attentive listener an aesthetic discovery rarely encountered in jazz of a more aggressive nature. Konitz has long been a master of contrapuntal jazz duo improvisation, a Bach-inspired skill he first investigated in the company of his mentor, Lennie Tristano. And now, almost 50 years since their first innovative recordings, he continues to reveal further implications of this art in his duets with the conceptually intertwined Franco D’Andrea.

On the surface, the playlist-“The Song Is You,” “What Is this Thing Called Love,” “Everytime We Say Goodbye,” “I Love You,” “Love For Sale,” “Easy To Love,” “Night and Day,” and “It’s All Right With Me”-would appear quite ordinary, perhaps even unadventurous. But what veers from the predictable is Konitz’ choice to interweave the themes and harmonic bases of some of these songs into artfully constructed medleys, as apart from the more extended explorations of other tunes. As is always the case with this master, repeated listening invariably disclose nuances of thought that were previously overlooked.

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