Born: May 13, 1961
Walter Lang was born May 13th, 1961 in Schwäbisch Gmünd, a small city some 50 kilometers from Stuttgart, Germany. He grew up with the sound of accordion and piano being played around the house by both his father and grandfather. He studied piano and composition at the Berklee School of Music in Boston; finished his studies at the Amsterdam School of Arts.
In 1988 Walter had the fortune of becoming a founding member of the Rick Hollander Quartet, a group which has enjoyed countless tours of Europe, Japan and America. The group’s 5 CD’s all feature Walter’s trademark piano playing. The Quartet won the 1st prize at the „Europ‘ Jazz Contest“ in Hoeilaart, Belgium in 1990....
A few months prior to his 80th birthday last fall, Konitz entered the studio with the German pianist Walter Lang for a duo recording. Lang has previously collaborated with Konitz in a number of concerts, but Ashiya is their first CD together. Though quite familiar with this format, this is one of the few times that Konitz isn't playing a mix of standards and his own works. Lang is better known abroad since almost all of his work as a leader has appeared on European labels; he has made only a handful of appearances as a sideman on domestic releases.
Konitz' dry, whimsical tone is well served by Lang's eloquent style. The pianist composed ten originals for the date; one can hear a classical background in their framework. The easygoing opener, Monk's Cottage, sounds like it has been derived from a familiar standard, though it never clearly reveals its source. The upbeat Open Water blends an elaborate postbop theme with a joyous fugue by the two musicians. The haunting title ballad and the melancholy Farewell are intimate affairs. Also included are three brief duo improvisations.
Tracks: Monk's Cottage; Good Way; Open Water; Interlude I; Ashiya; Soft Wind Blowing; Way Too Early; What a Treat; Valse Elegance; Casa Do Tom; Interlude II; Farewell; Epilogue.
Personnel: Walter Lang: piano; Lee Konitz: alto sax.
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