What Lee Konitz have you ever listened to that you DON'T agree with the statement?
Lee is the most original voice and the mostly completely spontaneous player on alto ever. For 61 years he has maintained a level of creativity that all the above mentioned players can only aspire to. Not one of the players you list could be the players they are without the huge influence of either Bird or Trane.
Lee stands nearly alone in creating a unique original jazz vocabulary completely independent of the overwhelming force of Bird. Sonny owes a huge debt to debt to Bird, Ornette less so but it certainly is still there. Everything Phil Woods plays goes straight to Bird.
Lee Konitz: Greatest Living Saxophonist. That just about covers it.
Just relax, would you? I've listened to plenty of Lee Konitz, and as I said, I think he's excellent. I just don't agree with F.D's assesment. As far as your assesment, you're welcome to it. But, in my opinion, I don't think he's the most original voice on the alto by a long shot, and the idea that in particular Sonny and Wayne can only aspire to Lee's level of creativity is silly, no matter how much and by whom they were influenced. All those guys that I mentioned had influences, sure, but the power of their own musical voices were so strong that they transcended those influences and developed styles at least as powerful and identifiable as Lee's. And what, Lee Konitz had no Bird influence? Check out This
interview, about halfway down the page. Let me quote Lee. "I even had trouble with Charlie Parker at first. Cause I'd been listening to Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges and people like that. But of course after some listening, [Parker] became very special. I copied him but," he said of Bird, breaking into song for a second, "I did it my way!". I guess the moral of this post is, feel free to state your opinion. That was my whole point in starting this thread. But don't state it like it's some ironclad fact please.