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Beware, this trio resembles no other. To start with, the format is quite out of the ordinary; two saxophones and a piano. There is indeed nothing these three musicians enjoy more than freedom and risk taking. Lee Konitz, the elder (1927), alto saxophonist (and here equally splendid at the soprano) recently honored by the Charles Cros Academy « for his entire career »; and two almost contemporaries, Dave Liebman (1945) soprano and tenor saxophonist and Richie Beirach (1947) piano. The “younger” players show respect. They composed « Knowing Lee », the title track of the album. Al three share the same values of rigor and spontaneity, exactly as one of their spiritual masters, Lennie Tristano, used to teach. It is not by chance that they named the two compositions written with six hands « Trinity » and « Don’t tell me what key ». In other words, you can follow this adventure blindfolded. You know where you are going. This coming together in a studio in the spring of 2010 can somehow be considered the natural culmination of their artistic career. Richie Beirach was for instance already accompanying Konitz at the end of the Sixties before joining Liebman – with Eddie Gomez, bass, and Billy Hart, percussion – to form the Quest group, outstanding specialists in collective improvisation. These small bands, where each interpreter has his own space, have always had the favor of our three friends. Here they thoroughly enjoy themselves. In one instance the two saxophonists even challenge one another – amiably of course but without the piano – on the same instrument (the soprano) in « Alone together », one of the highlights of the album. During all of this divine hour, Lee, Dave and Richie gain altitude. On the summits, as everyone knows, the air is rarer … and purer.

Choc Jazzman award