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Alone Together
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Alone Together

23 Oct 1997 | Format: MP3

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  • Original Release Date: 23 Oct 1997
  • Release Date: 23 Oct 1997
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • Copyright: (C) 1997 Blue Note Records
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:13:36
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001J5HKYY
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,811 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By ACB (swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER on 27 Jun 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Lee Konitz seems to have done everything everywhichway and back for years. From swing era (Claude Thornhill Orchestra) to 'Birth of the Cool' (a short period with Miles Davis) and with Warne Marsh. Working with Lennie Tristano brought out a more exploratory side to his playing including early free form. His discography is enormous as are the variable musical settings he played in constantly searching for different ways to express himself. This trio was originally conceived as a duo with Charlie Haden, but Charlie asked Lee if he could bring in Brad Mehldau on piano as he much admired the young critically acclaimed pianist. The result was two days and two records of live performance.
Six standards are on this record.

Lee is quoted as "Nothing was rehearsed or prearranged". Lee called the tunes and off they went!. There are only cursory nods to the original melodies after which improvisation and elaboration take over. Alone together, The Song is For You, Cherokee, What Is This Thing Called Love, are presented in a completely different format as is Round About Midnight after a few standard introductory bars, through to the final You Stepped Out of Dream. All well-known songs but almost unrecognisable as played with Konitz who is always prepared to take risks. Haden can follow, throw in his own ideas, often playing relatively spaced bass notes allowing Konitz to fill the gaps, effectively.

Then there is Brad Mehldau. Given his opportunity to solo he takes off in double-quick time that does not really follow the pattern that preceded it. There is no doubting his ability or virtuosity yet at other times he seems to understand Konitz and Haden and plays with a more relaxed sympathetic feeling.
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By A. W. Kindness on 18 May 2014
Format: Audio CD
With these big names on the cover expectations are raised, but Konitz is the only one with any really imaginative ideas, and he suffers intonation problems (i.e. staying in tune) off and on throughout. He has had this problem for some time now; when I last saw him live he knew it of course and kept adjusting his mouthpiece all evening till he finally hit the pitch on the very last number.
Brad Mehldau is a fair accompanist, but his solos are full of clichés and repetitive phrases and never develop into a satisfyingly constructed solo, as opposed to sequences of technically showy meanderings.
I loved Charlie Haden's work with Ornette and "Liberation music" but here it has to be said, he seems to be just cruising. Musicians with great reputations can't be expected to create improvisations of genius every night, but this was a bit of an off night.
For me "What is this thing called love" is the best of a bad lot.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Meditative standards-playing from Konitz 11 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Six standards that have been touchstones of Konitz's career, recorded by a quiet and intimate trio (Konitz, Charlie Haden and the pianist Brad Mehldau). Konitz's improvisations here are as focused and closely-thought-out as ever; equally a delight are his thoughtful renditions of the melodies. Check out "Round Midnight", where the tune is only present as the familiar phrase-rhythms, while Konitz fills them with new lines. Konitz was once quoted in an interview as to his concept of "levels" in improvisation--ranging from the pure statement of a melody to elaborations on it to making up new melodies--and that he felt all were equally valid. This recording is a particularly clear example of this credo.
So why just 4 stars? First: four of the improvisations get truncated by an artificial fadeout. One can't blame stupid producers for this decision: Haden & Konitz produced the album themselves. This feature is particularly irritating on "What is this Thing..." where Konitz's own composition written on its changes, "Subconscious-Lee", gets cut off as he states it.
Second: Brad Mehldau is, to my ears, grossly inappropriate for this album. His solos are all of a piece: instantly doubletimed, with call-and-response patterns built up between both hands with maddening predictability from a repeated phrase. This does little besides showing one that Mehldau is adept at transposition and has little sense of when to stop. Konitz has a knack for fitting in in the most unexpected of contexts--he's performed with Derek Bailey and Ornette Coleman--but it looks like Mehldau needs to learn this trick too.
These flaws are not serious enough to detract from a fine Konitz performance, however. Recommended.
25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Chamber jazz- a Lee Konitz showcase. 21 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The album title says it all-this album does sound at times like the 3 participants are not listening to each other. This is a live recording from December 96.Haden(bass),Konitz(alto) and Mehldau(piano) work through 6 standards at the Jazz Bakery in L.A. . Konitz alone or with Haden is everything you would expect.He has no fear of taking risks,turning the tune inside-out and searching all over for the beauty in the interplay.It is often calm and unrushed- just riveting music by two absolutely top-class players.The music only heats up and swings in the conventional sense when piano and bass take off together.It jars a bit in this context and sounds like Brad Mehldau has been noodling away in the background waiting to be let off the leash.And away he goes at double quick time but it is not really a development on what went before. When all 3 play together the result is strange-Mehldau is languid and unable to get into the exchanges.Konitz and Haden bounce ideas off each other but Mehldau is somewhere else. Still, it is a fine record .Konitz on the tightrope again and perfectly balanced throughout in spite of all the leaps and jumps of his adventurous playing. Some sets at the Jazz Bakery were played by the Konitz /Haden duo and the results are on "Sweet &Lovely" on King Records.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
what you see is what you get 7 Oct 2004
By B - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I bought this cd and got pretty much what i expected. It is not a telepathic trio cd where like minds communicate so well they finish each other's musical thoughts. It's more like a jam session with two old people and one young one. The two old people have made a lot of moves in jazz. Lee Konitz, as the liner notes so obsequiously state, has done a little of everything in jazz, including being there for the beginnings of free jazz with Lennie Tristano. Charlie Haden was one of Ornette's original soul brothers, and has now graduated to playing cds full of ballads and chilled foreign standards. Both of these musicians' playing is spare but very distinctive and inventive. I am not too well versed with either of them, but I have heard enough to know what they sound like, and this is pretty much what they sound like here. Konitz doesn't play anything cliche the entire time, just to the left of blowing over the changes of these well worn standards. A lot of the time Haden plays next to nothing, and usually pretty quietly too. He and Konitz sound like two old jazz legends with a lot to say and nothing to prove.

Brad Mehldau, on the other hand, is part of the current generation, and sets out to prove himself on every solo. When he is not soloing, he plays his role with reverent sparsity that he does not sound particularly comfortable with. I always thought he sounded best by himself, and when he is not by himself, he might as well be the only one playing, even with his own trio, because, as a particularly maximalist soloist, he insists on playing everything at once. He has striking and insightful harmonic and rhythmic dialogue with himself, with the almost jarring enthusiasm in which he immediately launches himself into double time on most solos. Haden doesn't always go with him; neither of the other musicians is in any hurry.

Although this trio does not necessarily fit together that well, or, rather, Brad Mehldau does not fit into the trio that well, everyone plays like you would expect them to. There is the mature aging pioneers, who play with measured but fresh eloquence, and then there is chops mcgee with all his cool hip licks and ideas, all three playing together on tunes they have probably played ten billion times. What did you think was going to happen?
14 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Not worth the money 15 Mar 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Lee Konitz? Mehldau? Charlie Haden? This is gonna KILL!" These were my words when I learned of this record's existence. I couldn't wait to hear these three independent minds find common ground on what looked from the back cover to be unique explorations of the American songbook.
"Lee Konitz, Mehldau, and Haden? THIS?"
These were my words after I listened, a few times over, I might mention, to this outing. Let me be straight here: I am a huge Lee Konitz fan. I'm an even bigger Mehldau fan, and how could you not appreciate Charlie Haden, the really first avant-bassist in the music? But what I found with this record is, to me, a half-assed run-through of standards by guys who would rather be doing something else.
I am not here to trash these musicians, but to warn you out there: don't be fooled by the cover. This should not have been recorded, it just wasn't the right day. Konitz's work to me is the least inspired of the bunch: safe, predictable and tired. His sound is strikingly stark, as always, and he displays his uniqueness in every note, but the notes themselves...leave alot to be desired. Konitz's solos seem to be the weight, the heaviness that pulls Mehldau and Haden down to their least-inspired accompaniments heard to date. Instead of giving these standards an entirely new spin together, they opt for the easy way out (especially Konitz), and the audience responds accordingly, with half-hearted enthusiasm.
Honestly the parts of the record that bear repeated listening are Mehldau's fascinating forays into solo piano virtuosity of the highest caliber. From the first note of his solos, the difference in creativity and energy between him and Konitz (who is inevitably the first soloist on EVERY track) is striking. Every solo is constructed perfectly and to the highest level of his genius, as if reacting to the sleepy atmosphere in a burst of everything he's got. And how could you blame him?
Haden's stoic bass solos are sublime, of course, but even he never lets loose with the kind of gutsy abandon he's capable of. And what's with the amp? I mean I know it was the mid-'90s but good God! Turn down! I want to hear the bass not the Gallien-Krueger!
Again, I didn't come here to bash anyone. Don't buy this album unless it's to transcribe or behold in awed silence the genius of Brad Mehldau's solos. Trust me on this one, there are better examples of EVERYONE to check out.
1 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Defective CD 6 April 2004
By Bob McKercher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I ordered this CD and found it to be defective - track 5 skipped at the end and track six skipped all the way through. I sent it back to Amazon for replacement and the replacement did the same thing (tried on 2 different players and 2 computers). Best stay away from this one. I only gave it one star because the Amazon system insisted on at least 1.
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