Album: Lee Konitz, Live at Birdland (ECM)

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The Independent Culture

That alto saxophonist Konitz plays as well as he does at 82 years of age is remarkable, but that doesn't mean you want to hear this 2009 recording very often, despite the contributions of Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian. Always an eccentric soloist, Kontiz's ideas seem as fresh as ever but a lack of puff renders his tone thin and weedy.

The opening "Lover Man" recalls Charlie Parker's fragile Dial version, and a closing "Oleo" features a thrilling duet with Motian's drums.