Lee Konitz: Lover Man
Lee Konitz (alto sax)
European Episode - Impressive Rome (CAM 498376-2)
Henri Texier (bass), Daniel Humair (drums).
Composed by Ram Ramirez.
Recorded: Rome, Italy, October 12, 1968
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
The remarkable professional relationship between saxophonist Lee Konitz and pianist Martial Solal dates back to 1968's European Episode, from whence this track came. Much of that album is "out" in varying degrees. "Lover Man" is one of the more straightforward performances on the record, although it's in no way a conservative reading of the jazz standard. Konitz uses an Octavoice (or multivider) on his horn, an electronic device that adds a lower octave to his sound. Today it seems almost criminal that he would electronically alter his tone—one of the most personal in jazz—especially when playing a ballad. Yet while it may now seem gimmicky, back then it was a noble experiment.
By 1968, Konitz had become one of the free-est improvisers over standard chord-based structures. He uses that ability to stretch the changes most effectively on "Lover Man." He's utterly unpredictable. His melodies resolve in places you'd least expect; his rhythms are impulsively elastic. Solal shares that gift for spontaneity, exuding like Konitz unfettered freedom. He obliterates any conscious obligation to form and structure, yet almost subliminally maintains a sense of order. Bassist Henri Texier and drummer Daniel Humair lend the flexibility that suits Konitz and Solal so well. The band seems easily familiar with both the materials and each other. Their obvious kinship results in some especially beautiful music.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey