Young and not so old

By JON GARELICK  |  February 16, 2011

Then there was more agitated picking, an approximation of walking bass to some of McHenry's bebop licks, a tenor solo, some big, fuzz-guitar chords, and some actual blues shredding that could have come right out of Eddie Van Halen, but minus all the crap. Another tune eventually turned into "I Fall in Love Too Easily," despite both men's attempts to resist it. And they ended with a pretty tune that Monder read from a music stand but didn't announce. Barely audible, Monder said, "Okay. That's. It."

At the Regattabar, Konitz and Tepfer played their second set unamplified. Joy! Konitz was voluble and funny. "We're going to play. Something. What are we going to play? Don't tell me." It was the standard "Sweet and Lovely." For the first part of the set, Konitz - who's known for playing variations on standards without ever stating the themes - kept the melody in sight. Rather than comping with chords, Tepfer alternated chords with agitated parallel lines that ran alongside Konitz. But he also knew how to stay out of the master's way when called for. Over the course of the 55-minute set - and especially after a break, while Tepfer improvised on a couple of the Goldberg Variations - Konitz gained steam, his improvisations becoming more elaborate. As he took melodic and harmonic tangents, you never lost confidence in the form - and yet, where were we? Someplace special, that's for sure.

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