Lee Konitz: Kary's Trance
Lee Konitz (alto sax)
Very Cool (Verve MG V 8209)
Sal Mosca (piano), Billy Bauer (guitar), Peter Ind (bass), Shadow Wilson (drums).
Composed by Lee Konitz.
Recorded: New York, May 5, 1957
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Listening to this makes one a little sad that Lee Konitz hasn't written more tunes. He's based much of his career on being a nonpareil interpreter of Tin Pan Alley songs and jazz standards, so it's hard to argue his choices. But his original compositions are so invariably quirky and distinctive that one wishes there were more of them.
"Kary's Trance" is a minor-key, up-tempo swinger. Although written in regular 32-bar song form, the labyrinthine melody is very irregular, featuring odd phrase lengths, unexpected pauses and unusual rhythmic emphases. The listener wants to go back and listen to the head over and over in an attempt to glean its subtleties. In contrast, the solos are mostly conventional, if energetic and well executed. Konitz's lines are long and lightly inflected. Always a cogent improviser, he was at this point in his career becoming even more incisive, a trend that would continue over the next several decades. Trumpeter Don Ferrara turns in an enthusiastic and capable bop solo. Pianist Sal Mosca's solo combines a Tristano-like linear approach with a bit of craggy phrasing and Monk-ish use of space. Animated trading of fours by Konitz and Ferrara provides a conspicuous climax to a very nice performance—all the more valuable, since it's based on a Konitz original.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey