Lee Konitz & Matt Wilson: Winding Up
Gong With the Wind Suite (SteepleChase)
Recorded: March 2002
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Although Lee Konitz devoted one track on his 1967 duo album to performing with Elvin Jones, this 2002 session is Konitz's first album-length duet with a drummer. His choice of Matt Wilson, a younger (by 37 years) musician who played in Lee's Nonet as early as 1996, was wise because Wilson is basically a melodic drummer. This unusual situation also induces Konitz to play only new material, totally co-improvised (or roughly co-composed) with Wilson in the studio, instead of reworking standards as he often does. On this track in particular, it is obvious that the usual relationship between blower and drummer is inverted. Konitz starts with a melodic proposal and Wilson answers on drums, then cymbals, in a tentative way. Then he catches his own momentum and plays along with the reedman rather than "pushing" him, as lots of drummers do. As for Konitz, he carries on his melodic tack, developing new ideas while Wilson's drumming comments in a subtle way that's as musical as it is dynamic. A great lesson in free playing by masters of, respectively, "winds" and "gongs," who make their own rules and are unafraid to enter rarely trodden paths.
Reviewer: Thierry Quénum