Grimal, Konitz, Peacock and Motian – Owls Talk ★★★★

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Alexandra Grimal (ts, ss), Lee Konitz (as), Gary Peacock (b), and Paul Motian (d). Rec. December 2009

Alexandra Grimal is a fine, young French saxophonist based in New York. Owls Talk finds her in the company of three elder statesmen of the music and she doesn’t seem remotely overawed by the experience. Indeed, her light, airy tone on tenor and soprano is perfectly suited to the way Konitz, Peacock and Motian approach music making themselves. The feel is not far removed from the kind of records Motian has made under his own name with its sense of relaxed, easy abstraction.

As for Konitz, he seems in his element here. But what really impresses is how Grimal engages with each of these musicians. She and Konitz interact in a way that recalls the altoist’s work with tenorist Warne Marsh and the connection she makes with Motian is equally strong. And yet the obvious empathy between Grimal and Peacock is something else again. Their partnership cries out for a duo album along similar lines to Konitz’s I Concentrate On You with Red Mitchell. For the moment, however, Owls Talk will more than suffice.

– Duncan Heining