The Live At Birdland release captures two days worth of performances by a group consisting of Konitz (alto saxophone), Mehldau (piano), Haden (double-bass) and Motian (drums). It is an important album as it shows the ease in which a talented group can move between a studio and a live setting, with each of the tracks here easily working in either context.
The vibrancy of each arrangement on “Live At Birdland” is what is truly exciting; from the introduction of “Loverman” all the way out to the closing strains of “Oleo”, listeners will be entranced by the interaction between the different elements of the band. The time given each cut by the band may just be the reason that this recording succeeds without any noticeable failings – every member of this supergroup is able to enter in and add their two cents, rather than being excluded from the track. “You Stepped Out of a Dream” seems to be the peak at which the act hits.
The penultimate track, “You Stepped Out of a Dream” has the act warmed up and raring to go. Their drive and dedication is what makes the track unforgettable, while the lush recording on the track makes the song unforgettable. Birdland is a tremendous club, and Konitz et al may be the only acts with chops big enough to be worthy of the designation. If you wish to hear how the ast, present, and future of jazz intersect make it a point to pick up “Live At Birdland” and dig through the ECM crates as well.
Top Tracks: Lover Man, Solar
Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian – Live At Birdland (CD) / 2011 ECM Records / 6 Tracks / http://www.ecmrecords.com