Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Konitz/Haden - Sweet and Lovely

Not long after discovering the music Lee Konitz, I picked up Alone Together (Blue Note) featuring Konitz alongside Charlie Haden and Brad Mehldau. It was placed on heavy rotation and quickly became one of my favourite albums and by the end of the year (1999) the follow up - Another Shade of Blue - also was getting plenty of airtime.
Saxophone Bass duoIn the liner notes of Alone Together Konitz mentions that the gig was originally intended to be a sax/bass duo recording for King Records. A couple of years later I found the duo recording listed in an online discography but I was unable to track it down. Over the years it would pop into my mind and I would have a search, hoping it would eventually show up on eBay, and then forget about it again.

In December, while browsing Dusty Groove for Charlie Haden recordings, there it was - Lee Konitz & Charlie Haden Sweet and Lovely - the missing piece of the December 1996 recordings at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. Although I placed my order immediately, someone bet me to it and it was out of stock. It came back in stock while I was somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, and by the time I found out, the elusive duo had sold out once again. The new year rolled around and the album appeared on eBay and this time around it didn't escape.

The first spin reminded me of catching up with old friends you haven't seen for many years and things just slot right back in place. That's not to say there weren't surprises - there were, and as I continue to listen, the album keeps delivering the goods. The sparseness of the sax and bass on the trio albums always appealed to me and it really comes to the fore in these seven duo performances. Sweet and Lovely has been getting regular airtime over the past month and I feel it's the kind of album that will keep on giving. I had been waiting a long time to hear this and it didn't disappoint. Konitz and Haden have added a little weight to the decision that if push came to shove, duos would be placed at the top of my favourite line-ups. Highly recommended for fans of Konitz, Haden, bass accompaniment, duos and melodic playing.

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