This 1982 meeting between the veteran alto saxophonist Lee Konitz and the young pianist (19 at the time of the session) Michel Petrucciani is a success on all counts. Konitz's fragile alto is complemented by Petrucciani's lush backing in "I Hear a Rhapsody," while their abstract approach to "'Round Midnight" and "Lover Man" are both very refreshing. Konitz is unaccompanied for his wandering "Ode," while the pianist is featured alone on his complex portrait "To Erlinda," which is dedicated to his first wife. Petrucciani and Konitz wrote the brief closer, the lively blues "Lovelee," during which they initially play apart from one another before joining forces to close with a flourish. This was only Petrucciani's third recording, yet he plays far beyond his years; this recommended CD will be difficult to find due to the demise of the Owl label.
- Ken Dryden (All Music Guide)
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Jazz slips his way beneath the night. Dawn is his house. His pockets are stuffed with stars, cooling mutely, and blue ash. He takes a seat on the edge of the kerb next to his solitude, his feet in the pale asphalt of the morning, and whispers considerable sweet nothings hurting more than distress, and which are as candid as a new-born day. In less than a century, jazz has become as old as the earth. It's no longer a secret; we've seen photographs in Paris-Match: when all was vague and empty, God possessed a wind-up gramophone on which he would grind out, again and again, Mabel's Dream, Keyhole Blues, Misty Morning, Easy Does It, Blue Lester, Billie's Bounce, Naima, Spirits Rejoice', from the corner of his mouth come little circles of cloud, his eyes are half-closed, and he beats time with his unimaginable heel. God was as happy as a tick; those were the good times. Oh, jazz is terribly old these days, immemorial. And yet it only just got off the bus. It was born with the dew this morning. When it's good, I mean. When it's good, it resembles the sun, astonished to be there each morning, and it watches in amazement as thousands of birds spring from its eyelids. It awakens with the stupefaction of a colossus. With no past, and even less guile, naked in a world to be created. Everything can begin again. When jazz didn't exist, or only barely, it was rather easy to invent it. Nowadays, jazz precedes all its creators by at least a generation. The roads have been laid, even the roads to school. There are landmarks everywhere. Jazz has become a kind of highway. And it has its own rules, its habits, its odd ways.
A place has been made for each thing, including the unforeseen, which lives at a given address. In these conditions, how can one still be naive, or in other words, be a jazzman? Nobody knows. I don't either. In theory, it's not going to be possible. Yet some people manage. Sometimes. I suppose they're the first to be surprised, and that's what's beautiful about it Lee Konitz and Michel Petrucciani on this record, for example. First of all, they hear a rhapsody. Everyone knows this one; it's a charming old catch-tune. They're the only ones who seem never to have heard it before. The air and the song, the dazzled and teetering song of jazz giving birth to itself again, as loving bodies do. Lee advances incredulously along a street he's lived on for ages, but which suddenly looks like the moon when the sun's waiting for it. Meanwhile, playing with Michel's fingers, another rhapsody (but it's the same one), new but eternal, begins to shudder, like lights crackling on the surface of water at dawn, again. They begin to swim in the mist, hanging on to the coat tails of mystery. They're off. Voyagers from the inside of the head, looking at pictures with the backs of their eyes. They've taken off. There's no more motorway up there, day and night are each the mirror of the other. It's a good place to be reborn. They'll never touch ground again, what's the use, as long as they're flying... The record ends, they're still sailing, and for a long time to come. It's inside us that they're sailing, in our distance and in our deeps, and we're on board, as sailing ships take on board the ocean. Even if we've been jazz lovers for thirty-six thousand years, gathering wax and souvenirs, we think we know it all and then we know nothing. If someone had just told me, before I listened to Leechel Petruccianitz, that a musician was still capable of making me lose my wits, of making me spin around at midnight, which is a place I know like the back of my hand, I'd have laughed vitriol in the face of such an insolent. This marvellous record has given my conceit a cold shower. So, jazz has just appeared, has it? So everything's still possible? Everything is still impossible, like the day when Jack Papa Laine bought his first bass drum from a shifty second-hand dealer on Rampart Street? They're telling you it's true! They're telling you so, Michel Petrucciani and Lee Konitz! Since they're not saying anything, in this vibrant silence, in this polished crystal, they're causing a new sun to rise, totally blue.