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Duos With Lee

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Album Review

The young pianist Dan Tepfer had been working as a sideman with Lee Konitz since early 2007 prior to these studio sessions (recorded between December 2008 and March 2009), because the veteran alto saxophonist was drawn to Tepfer's creative, open-minded approach to accompaniment. Konitz has long had one of the most identifiable sounds on the alto sax, while he has generally resisted recording for long periods with the same musicians, preferring to constantly experiment. This is only Tepfer's second CD under his name, a duo date for which they recorded a number of standards and improvised pieces, though the pianist found himself drawn to the latter to include on this release. Their ten "Elande" duo improvisations vary widely in character, conceived in ten different keys, lasting from barely over a minute to just under four and a half minutes, in which the two complement and inspire one another, without going on so long that they lose the listener. At times, a song that inspired the "Elande" may briefly come into view, such as the free-spirited "Elande No. 10 (Free for Paree)" eventually working its way into a comical detour into "The Last Time I Saw Paris." Tepfer's "Merka Tikva" is a mostly composed work with a haunting melody, while the pianist's "No Lee" is an eerie solo improvisation that seems like a fully formed composition. They close with an exotic treatment of "Trees," a song from the 1920s that retains its relaxing flavor in a very modern setting. It is probably too much to hope for a follow-up duo recording between Dan Tepfer and Lee Konitz, although listeners who have heard the two perform together in live settings are already familiar with their incredible chemistry together. Highly recommended.

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Duos With Lee, Dan Tepfer
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  • $16.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 28 July 2009

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