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In a review of Sonny Rollins' recent Carnegie Hall concert, Village Voice critic Francis Davis referred to concert attendee Lee Konitz as the greatest living saxophonist after Sonny and Ornette Coleman. With Wayne Shorter, Benny Golson, George Coleman, Frank Wess and Phil Woods, among others, still walking the earth, I found this to be a pretty dubious claim. Not that Lee Konitz isn't great, but...

What do you think?
 

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IMHO: Phil Woods.

He has everything and can do anything. His musical vocabulary is a vast as everyone's on this board combined and to top it off, he's a wonderful person as well.

Phil is just who I'd pick if I honestly had to say just 1 player. I think everyone that you mentioned (and a few others like Bergonzi) could just as easily be number one.
 

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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.
 

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Lee Konitz is the greatest living saxophonist.

Don't believe me? Ask me tomorrow.

I'll have a different answer.:D;)
 

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Konitz as the greatest living saxophonist? Huh.

I'd also put Phil Woods way ahead of Konitz.

I'd also put Bergonzi at the top of the list, he's one of the few guys that doesn't run the same licks over and over. Garzone is another at the top of the list. These two never seem to sit on their duff when it comes to moving ahead and keeping an edge.
 

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guido said:
Lee Konitz: Greatest Living Saxophonist. That just about covers it.
Desmond was very lyrical as well, but a lot of people prefer a more aggressive approach. Lee puts me to sleep. I'd rather listen to Bobby Watson or Eric Spaulding then Konitz.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
guido said:
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.
 

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Wayne Shorter is the greatest living saxophonist.

Don't believe me? Ask me tomorrow.


I'll have a different answer.
 

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Arguing over this is just stupid. That's all there is to say there.

There are very few of the truly legendary sax masters left. Lee is one of them. So are Sonny, Phil, Wayne, Charlie Mariano, Charles McPherson, Big George, Ornette, and a couple of others. They have all had an incalculable influence and have helped shape the music for a long time. It's a select company and just let it be. We should just be thankful that these guys are still with us.
 

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What? Is Kenny Garrett not living anymore? No has said Kenny Garrett yet, so I will. Kenny is truly one of the greatest, most versatile players. He can play jazz, funk, latin, hiphop, everything and more and he plays it all WELL. He certainly has a rather unique tone on alto.
 

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James Moody is the greatest living saxophonist.

Don't believe me? Ask me tomorrow.

I'll have a different answer.:D:wink:
 

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We need to add to the list Evan Parker. His ability to create fascinating (maddening) soundscapes is still second to none. His solo sax work is outstanding (playing straight or else) and IMO "essential" for anyone interested in improvised music.

Considering Steve Lacy is no longer with us we may say that Parker is today one of the most interesting improvisers using the soprano, somehow pursuing the way of the late work of Coltrane.
 

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guido said:
Lee Konitz: Greatest Living Saxophonist. That just about covers it.
Hmm.. Of course, this thread is totally bonkers but it just so happens i was musing on Konitz and SOTW the other day. I really don't read his name mentioned here at all often - compared with, let's say, Bird/Pepper/Desmond/Woods/Garret. (Yes, I know this thread is about living sax players generally) But I find this relative quietness about Lee a little odd. Perhaps I've just been reading the wrong threads.. Or is there some other explanation? Not a "sax player's sax player?" I dunno. Just asking.. It's not as if Lee is "way out" like Ornette or Braxton which would put some people off them, maybe..
 

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guido said:
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.
I totally agree.
 

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silvin said:
What about Joshua Redman?
I'll let you know after I see him tonight:D
 

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Chris Potter is the greatest living saxophonist.

Don't believe me? Ask me tomorrow.

I'll have a different answer.:D:wink:
 

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hakukani said:
Chris Potter is the greatest living saxophonist.

Don't believe me? Ask me tomorrow.

I'll have a different answer.:D:wink:

No way. Today the best living saxophonist is Eric Alexander.:D Chris Potter was a few days ago when I was listening to Traveling Mercies.
 
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