The Guardian, (John Fordham), May 13, 2011
(5 stars) Captivating...Mehldau's uncanny amplification of Konitz's phrases, and his breathtaking solos are irresistible...four-way discussions that fizz with collective energy.
One of the great jazz releases of the year! A quartet of master musicians and a programme of jazz classics. Live At Birdland presents the finest moments from two inspired nights at New York's legendary club, as Lee Konitz, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian play "Lover Man", "Lullaby Of Birdland", "Solar", "I Fall In Love Too Easily", "You Stepped Out Of A Dream" and "Oleo" with freedom, tenderness, and a love of melody that only jazz's greatest improvisers can propose.
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.
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)