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I Concentrate On You

Lee Konitz & Red Mitchell

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Album Review

Lee Konitz has been a constant explorer throughout most of his career, never satisfied with a standard approach or falling into a rut with a particular instrumentation. This 1974 duo session with bassist Red Mitchell, which focuses exclusively on the works of Cole Porter, is one great example. With an inventive accompanist like Mitchell spurring him on, the alto saxophonist is able to work magical variations of the familiar Porter works, while Konitz retains his remarkable dry signature tone. "Easy to Love" has a bit of a bittersweet air in his hands, as does the more deliberate "Ev'rytime We Say Goodbye." Mitchell is a bit more subdued in the hip treatment of "'You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," as Konitz's intricate improvisation works its magic. The usually over the top "Love for Sale" features an understated arrangement here. Mitchell switches to piano for "Night and Day," playing a soft bop line behind the leader. Three alternate takes were added for the 1987 CD reissue of this 1974 session, which will have great appeal to fans of Lee Konitz.

Customer Reviews

Unsung Classic from an unsung Era

Hearing this record changed my life, but let me digress a little. For some odd reason, no one ever told me to check out Lee Konitz. I found Lee all by myself, literally went to a record store and bought a record called "You And Lee", which I don't believe has ever been released on C.D. That record completely blew my mind. It is still my favorite Lee record, because I believe it to be his best playing to date, totally in command of his instument (as always), yet also totally relaxed, almost channelling Lester Young. He does not play a bad note or phrase on that record, it's actually a stunning statement that more and more people will discover in the next 50 years. Hearing "You And Lee" completely opened up the floodgates. I mean, to hear this totally original artists' concept of Jazz improv - right up there with Bird and Ornette - was pretty shattering for a budding saxophonist. I went on a Lee rampage, I simply had to own every Lee Konitz record, and save for some of the new stuff, I do. My next find after "You And Lee" was this ingenious "I Concentrate On You" record with Red Mitchell. I paid $3 for it. The album is totally spontanious and casual, yet every tune is played with a very serious conviction and sense of urgency and truth. And then there is the repertoir. The tragic dry wit of Cole Porters songs lend themself so well to Konitz. Truly, he understands them, and proceeds to rewrite them. Konitz plays on this session with a full-blooded conviction that is arresting, his tone is relentless, his feel and phrasing more pulsating and intense than his early playing. I have heard all phases of Konitz, old and new, but there is a uniquely apocolyptic and melancholy quality to both his playing and Mitchell's on this session. That sense of urgency from the playing of Konitz and Mitchell almost feels prophetic, as though they both sensed it would be the last time they would play together.

Bravo!

This has a great classic feel to it ,it's wonderful bravo

Pitch is off

Great album but the pitch is a half step off!!!

Biography

Born: October 13, 1927 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the most individual of all altoists (and one of the few in the 1950s who did not sound like a cousin of Charlie Parker), the cool-toned Lee Konitz has always had a strong musical curiosity that has led him to consistently take chances and stretch himself, usually quite successfully. Early on he studied clarinet, switched to alto, and played with Jerry Wald. Konitz gained some attention for his solos with Claude Thornhill & His Orchestra (1947). He began studying with Lennie Tristano, who...
Full Bio