7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
More than "ok", but a qualified "like"
, 5 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Live At Birdland (Audio CD)
Like the two customer reviews to date, the response to Live At Birdland from the critics has veered from the ecstatic to the deeply underwhelmed. Konitz's style (once described abstract and bloodless) will underwhelm some people but it does have a charm, intelligence and depth, and is supported sympathetically by Mehldau, Haden and Motian. Having listened to this disc perhaps 15 times my conclusion is that overall this is a good but not great recording from four fantastic musicians which, at its highest, as on the opener "Lover Man" is sublime but, elsewhere, loses momentum over what are a long 70 minutes.
I was most excited by the prospect of the interpretation of Miles Davis's "Solar" (originally on the Quintet's 1954 release "Walkin") and Sonny Rollins's Oleo (famously covered by Davis and Coltrane in 1956) but, despite some snap and crackle by Motian in particular, neither interpretation is entirely successful neither having the force or impact of, say, Coltrane's late period assaults on "My Favorite Things" or the melodic flow and rhythmic bounce of the originals. There has not been as much publicity and hyperbole accompanying an ECM since Haden and Jarrett's collaboration "Jasmine" released last year and I, for one, as slightly disappointed by the attention spent on jazz standards as if, by implication, the new music released on ECM, for all its interest, is somehow inferior. Indeed, those desperate to make an early claim for album of the year are best advised to look elsewhere (I suggest the Marcin Wasilewski Trio's "Faithful") but for intelligent, unobvious versions of some of the jazz canon's most famous material, "Live At Birdland" is a worthy tribute to that canon and the jazz firmament's penchant for endless evolution.
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