Martial Solal & Lee Konitz: Stella by Starlight


Stella by Starlight


Martial Solal (piano) and Lee Konitz (alto sax)


European Episode / Impressive Rome (CamJazz)

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Martial Solal (piano), Lee Konitz (alto sax).

Composed by Victor Young & Ned Washington


Recorded: Rome, Italy, October 12, 1968


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

This track is a historical event: it was recorded during the first meeting between Solal and Konitz. It's also the only duet taped that afternoon, and the first of a long series the two musicians would subsequently play together onstage or in the studio. Indeed, as soon as they met, Solal and Konitz were like brothers, and still are more than 40 years later. This may seem strange, given the difference in their styles: Konitz's laconic, linear phrasing and rather thin sound as opposed to Solal's extrovert, baroque approach to the keyboard and his tendency to change tempo without notice. In fact their association works marvelously, as they drag each other onto one another's playground in a fascinating cat-&-mouse game. This playground is often founded, as here, on the standards they both love. To such familiar patterns they in turn bring the element of surprise. Indeed, the main common ground between Solal and Konitz may be that they hate to repeat themselves. Indeed, surprising themselves and each other is the engine that powers this unlikely but immensely likable duo.

Reviewer: Thierry Quénum

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  • 1 Red Colm O'Sullivan // Feb 05, 2009 at 11:53 PM
    Good. Well said. (Hope you know the double duo LP "Duplicity" on Horo records - maybe their greatest...???).