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Lee Konitz Quartet: Pride

Pride adds to the case that Lee Konitz’s sustained creativity and prolific recording schedule have a chicken and egg relationship. Fronting contrasting rhythm sections, Konitz not only improvises with his trademark sublime mix of subtlety and adventurousness, but also contributes 3 tunes to the date, reinforcing his less heralded status as a resourceful composer.

Including only three originals, the bulk of the program is comprised of Jobim tunes and standards. Spurred on by the flexibility of his cohorts-pianist-organist George Colligan, bassist Doug Weiss, and drummer Darren Beckett-Konitz still manages to nudge the envelope, however, regardless of the standard material. Colligan particularly seems well-suited to the breadth of Konitz’s art: he supplies translucent accompaniment on Jobim’s “Triste”; he solos persuasively on Konitz’s angular “Stellar”; and he holds his own in two one-on-one encounters with Konitz, where he plays a tastefully busy, bluesy organ. Given Konitz’s output with more high-profile musicians, Pride is prone to being lost in the crowd, but those enamored Konitz’s knack for giving well-worn vehicles new traction will dig it.

Originally Published