How many Lee Konitz albums do we need? If they are as stimulating as this one, as many as that prolific septuagenarian will give us. More Live-Lee was recorded during the engagement at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles that also produced Live-Lee. Konitz is a melodist devoted to ceaselessly evolving originality or, perhaps more precisely, to avoiding cliche. He reaches his goal here, accompanied and inspired by breathtaking pianist Alan Broadbent.
Konitz is the quintessential Tristano-ite, although it makes sense to view his work of the past 40 years as a moving away from Lennie Tristano's orthodoxies rather than as an expansion on them. Some lament that Konitz is no longer the overtly daring soloist of the late 1940s and early '50s, with a light, brittle tone and sequential explosions of ideas. Now, his tone is often dry and rugged, his work a nearly indistinguishable melding of intellectual discovery and passionate feeling. Broadbent studied with Tristano, was touched by his principles and benefited from but was not formed by them. He relates to the Tristano aspects that still inform Konitz's work, and at times accompanies accordingly. He is capable of applying rolling Tristano bass lines, as he does behind Konitz and in his own solo on "Thingin'." But Broadbent is an original, an individualist, if somewhat less defiantly so than Konitz. I've heard no finer example of his devotion to the imperatives of swing and harmonic beauty than in his one-chorus solo on "You Stepped Out of a Dream," with its startling counterpoint, voicings and internal rhythm.
For the most part, the songs here are from the repertoire Konitz has maintained for decades: "Invitation," "Body and Soul," "I Can't Get Started," "How Deep Is the Ocean?" "Just Friends." Their familiarity makes the freshness Konitz and Broadbent find in them all the more satisfying.