Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
on 2 April 2013
I bought this as I'd heard Konitz's work with Gerry Mulligan, and admired his crystal-clear tone, and his beautiful way with a phrase. Happily, it turned out to be a very wise move. Most of the cds here run close to the 70 minute mark, so you currently get lots of fine, cool jazz for only £5 (Amazon prices appear quite volatile, so well worth grabbing while it's around this real bargain price).
The period runs from '54-'61, and gives a fascinating insight into Konitz's work over this period; though he remains a master of 'cool' jazz, his later work does reflect some 'bop' influences. The recording/sound quality also varies considerably. His first album in this collection has a rather muddy sound, with Ronnie Ball's piano and Jeff Morton's drums well back in the mix, though the predominance of Peter Ind's bass and Konitz's alto sax is a delicious duet (I began to smile within the first few chords of the opener 'Easy Livin'). Ironically, the live set at Storyville has a better balanced sound, and the various announcements by John McLelland, the MC, is a fascinating nugget of the bands playing there at the time.
Konitz duets properly with Warne Marsh on the next album (introducing Billy Bauer on guitar for the first time), with 'Donna Lee' one of the outstanding tracks. Inside Hi-Fi sees Konitz begin to replace piano with guitar, and this accentuates the beauty of his tone, a move completed on 'Tranquillity', where guitar is the 'colour' instrument in the quartet. This gives the album a gossamer lightness which underpins the sheer beauty of the restrained melodic lines here. Simply lovely.
This fine collection ends with the impressive 'Very Cool', with the gorgeous opener 'Sunflower' reflecting the very high standard to be found throughout this album. The set concludes with 'Motion' from 1961, an album rated as 'essential' by both the Gramophone and Penguin Jazz Guides. By this time Konitz has left the short track lengths of his first album, and is stretching out to 8-10 minutes at a time. If you enjoy cool jazz, and a beautifully restrained approach with a crystal tone which shimmers and sparkles, this bargain collection is one to go for.