Live At Birdland
On December 9 and 10, 2009 Konitz, Mehldau, Haden and Motian came together at Birdland and launched themselves into the music without a game plan, trusting to experience and improvisational instincts to guide the way. When these musicians play these standards they make them new.
There are some historical precedents for the collaboration. Charlie Haden and Paul Motian played for a decade with Keith Jarrett, first in trio, then in the astonishing 'American quartet' (Survivors Suite, Eyes of the Heart), and they have a rhythmic understanding that is magical. Paul was also a member of Haden's Music Liberation Orchestra. Konitz and Mehldau have played often together and recorded two albums for Blue Note in the 1990s with Charlie Haden on bass - Alone Together and Another Shade of Blue. Konitz and Haden also played (briefly) together in a Paul Motian On Broadway session. But Live At Birdland trumps earlier permutations of this distinguished personnel.
All four musicians have history with ECM - Haden most recently with the best-selling Jasmine duets with Keith Jarrett. Motian has been leader on many albums, most recently the very popular Lost In A Dream. Lee Konitz last appeared on ECM on Kenny Wheeler's very popular Angel Song (1996), and Brad Mehldau contributed to Charles Lloyd's The Water Is Wide, to date the most widely-loved of Lloyd's ECM discs.
This is very much a collective album made by a group of equals. Three bona fide veterans and one younger star - Mehldau is 40, Haden 73, Motian 79. At 83, Lee Konitz is making history by continuing to explore new aspects of his playing, his phrasing ever more adventurous. Konitz played at the very first Birdland Club, in the 1940s, and has headlined at each of its subsequent NY addresses.
Personnel: Lee Konitz (alto saxophone), Brad Mehldau (piano), Charlie Haden (double-bass), Paul Motian (drums)
- Lullaby Of Birdland
- I Fall In Love Too Easily
- You Stepped Out Of A Dream