Sax Legend Konitz To Release Impulse! Debut Feb. 10

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Lee Konitz’s Frescalalto will be available digitally on Feb. 10.

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Alto saxophone jazz master and 2015 DownBeat Hall of Fame inductee Lee Konitz teams up with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington for his first-ever release on Impulse! Records. Frescalalto will be released digitally on February 10. 

The quartet of musicians share an intersecting history: 40 years ago, Kenny Washington made his recording debut playing with Konitz on his 1977 LP, Lee Konitz Nonet. The two performed together again on 1992’s Jazz Nocturne, which also featured Impulse! recording artist and pianist Kenny Barron. Furthermore, over the decades, Kenny Washington and Peter Washington (no relation) made up one of New York City’s distinguished jazz rhythm sections, performing frequently with Barron and other jazz greats. 

The quartet’s collective expertise enlivens Frescalalto as Konitz revisits eight tunes, many of which are jazz classics.

“I’ve been pretty much doing these [songs] all through the years,” Konitz says about Frescalalto. “They are great tunes that offer constant challenges regarding approaching them in unique ways. That’s the goal. Sometimes it’s not achieved, but other times, I start out playing these melodies and then start going in completely different directions. That’s such a kick.”

The disc begins with a spirited reading of Victor Young’s “Stella By Starlight,” followed by one of Konitz’s own compositions “Thingin’.” With “Gundula,” Konitz exhumes one of his more recent originals, a ballad with pensive lyricism and romantic chords that certainly should earn its bona fides to becoming a jazz standard in its own right. Other classics include “Darn That Dream”, “Invitation” and “Cherokee.” DB



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