Lee Konitz & Albert Mangelsdorff: Creole Love Call


Creole Love Call


Lee Konitz (alto sax) and Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone)


Art of the Duo (Enja)

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Lee Konitz (alto sax), Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone).

Composed by Duke Ellington


Recorded: Villingen, Germany, June 8-10, 1983


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Notwithstanding their obvious differences, Lee Konitz and Albert Mangelsdorff have much in common. One is American, the other German; one plays a slow low instrument, the other a fast high one. But they were born hardly a year apart and, each on his respective side of the Atlantic, followed nearly parallel paths: fascination for Louis Armstrong, love of Lester Young and his melodic way of improvising, and interest in Lennie Tristano's ideas as an alternative to overwhelming bebop. Of course, Chicago-born Konitz was in the heart of things while Mangelsdorff got the information with some delay in Cologne, where he adapted Tristano-school phrasing to his trombone.

No wonder that when they first met in 1968 on an LP entitled ZO-KO-MA ("ZO" being Hungarian guitarist Attila Zoller) to play mostly Tristano-inspired music, they felt like brothers who'd had the same teacher. Fifteen years later, Konitz and Mangelsdorff dig even deeper into their common bag and tackle an Ellington tune of the "jungle" period. And what can better do the jungle thing than Manglesdorff's trombone, with its deep, ever-melodic growls stuffed with his trademark multiphonics?

Konitz's alto flies like a bird over the trombone's thick carpet of sound. He phrases the melody in a totally relaxed way, clustering notes or playing long ones without ever giving the impression that he quickens or slows down. When Mangelsdorff gets hold of the melody, he presents it in a slightly more extroverted way, putting forward its blues aspects, while Konitz plays a quiet descant. In other words, this interpretation is based on an intelligent use of their instrumental differences, building on the contrast between their sound, phrasing, timbre and approach. Just like some haute cuisine dish mixing hot and cold, rough and soft, sweet and sour to the utter delight of our aural taste buds.

Reviewer: Thierry Quénum

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