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Mark Masters Ensemble with Lee Konitz: One Day With Lee

For sax fiends in general, and Lee Konitz devotees in particular, composer/arranger Mark Masters has provided a treasure trove of old and new Konitz called One Day With Lee (Capri) featuring a prominent supporting cast that includes Gary Foster, Bill Perkins and Jack Montrose in the sax section of an all-star Mark Masters Ensemble.

Master’s CD is a fascinating concept: Konitz contributes new solos over orchestrated versions of his old solos going back to the early ’50s. Konitz’s unaccompanied alto solo on “All the Things You Are” leads to the 14-piece band playing the altoist’s old “Thingin’.” The altoist begins “You Stepped Out of a Dream” alongside drums only, in its original key of C, and after some counterpoint with Gary Foster, the band enters with Konitz’s written line “Dream Stepper,” in D, with its clever interpolations of Morton Gould’s “Pavanne” and Kern’s “Bill.” The sudden key change is jolting but refreshing. For “317 East 32nd Street” (based on “Out of Nowhere”), Masters orchestrates a 1953 Konitz line, and after the altoman solos-before and after the Masters’ additions-Foster and Konitz exchange fours. And so the inspired concept goes throughout the album, along with solo bon-bons from trombonist Bob Enevoldsen, bassist Putter Smith, pianist Cecilia Coleman, trombonist Les Benedict and trumpeter Ron Stout.

Originally Published