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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lee is 84 today! An amazing career spanning from the 40s when he was one of the few viable alternative alto voices to the juggernaut that was Charlie Parker to today when he continues to tour and record with a singular tone and an unfailing dedication to lyrical invention and beautiful melody. He is an advocate of pure improvisation, striving to always be surprised. His wonderful recordings are way too many to list and he has played with a who's who of other players.

Thank you Lee for a lifetime of inspiration!

I'm listening to his "I'll Remember You" with Elvin Jones and Sunny Dallas from Motion 1961.

Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
1,124 Posts
Happy birthday Lee - and many more years!! My favorite alto player - actually close to being my favorite musician, period. Live long and happy-Lee! (he made the quip himself - "after I composed Subconscious-Lee I turned into a byword")

Forum Contributor 2016, The official SOTW Little S
5,472 Posts
Happy birthday to an amazing saxophone player and an all around fantastic individual. :)

Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
8,322 Posts

Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
2,323 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Rooty,

Lee did have a health scare in Australia earlier this year. But he has been home in NYC for months now and playing out again. I haven't seen him play since he is back but reports are he is back in fine form.

Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
8,322 Posts
Hi Rooty,

Lee did have a health scare in Australia earlier this year. But he has been home in NYC for months now and playing out again. I haven't seen him play since he is back but reports are he is back in fine form.
Now that is really excellent to hear. Thanks.

Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
2,323 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Lee composed a tune by that name in 1950.

Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
2,323 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Lee Konitz
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Background information
Birth name Leon Konitz
Born October 13, 1927
Origin Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Cool jazz
Occupations Saxophonist, Composer
Instruments Alto saxophone
Labels RCA Red Seal
Atlantic Records
Verve Records
Prestige Records
Palmetto Records
Associated acts Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Jim Hall, Elvin Jones, Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden

Lee Konitz (born October 13, 1927) is an American jazz composer and alto saxophonist who was born in Chicago, Illinois.

Generally considered one of the main figures in the cool jazz movement, Konitz has also performed successfully in bebop and avant-garde settings. Konitz was one of the few altoists to retain a distinctive sound when Charlie Parker exercised a tremendous influence on other players.

Konitz, like other students of pianist and theoretician Lennie Tristano, was noted for improvising long, melodic lines with the rhythmic interest coming from odd accents, or odd note groupings suggestive of the imposition of one time signature over another. Paul Desmond and, especially, Art Pepper were strongly influenced by Konitz.

Konitz's association with the cool jazz movement of the 1940s and 50s, includes participation in Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool sessions, and his work with Lennie Tristano came from the same period. During his long career, Konitz has played with musicians from a wide variety of jazz styles.


Konitz was born on October 13, 1927, in Chicago, Illinois of Austrian/Russian Jewish parents. At age eleven Konitz received his first instrument-a clarinet-but later dropped the instrument in favor of the tenor saxophone.

Konitz eventually moved from tenor to alto. His greatest influences at the time were the swing big bands he and his brother listened to on the radio, in particular Benny Goodman. Hearing Goodman on the radio is actually what prodded him to ask for a clarinet. On the saxophone he recalls improvising before ever learning to play any standards.

Konitz began his professional career in 1945 with the Teddy Powell band as a replacement for Charlie Ventura. The engagement apparently did not start out smoothly, as Ventura is said[who?] to have banged his head against a wall when Konitz played. A month later the band parted ways. Between 1945 and 1947 he worked off and on with Jerry Wald. In 1946 he first met pianist Lennie Tristano and worked in a small cocktail bar with him. His next substantial work was done with Claude Thornhill in 1947, with Gil Evans arranging and Gerry Mulligan as a composer in most part.

He participated with Miles Davis in a group that only had a brief booking in September 1948 and another the following year, but recorded in 1949 and 1950 the sides collected on the Birth of the Cool album. The presence of Konitz and other white musicians in the group angered some black jazz players, many of whom were unemployed at the time, but Davis rebuffed their criticisms. Konitz has stated that he considered the group to belong to Gerry Mulligan, and credits Lennie Tristano as the true forebearer of "the cool". His debut as leader also came in 1949 with sides later collected on the album Subconscious-Lee in 1955 (Prestige Records). He also turned down an opportunity to work with Benny Goodman in 1949-a decision he is on record as regretting. Charlie Parker lent him support on the day Konitz's child was being born in Seattle, Washington, with him stuck in New York City. The two were actually good friends, and not the rivals some jazz critics once made them out to be.

In the early 1950s, Konitz recorded and toured with Stan Kenton's orchestra, but continued to record under his own name. In 1961, he recorded Motion with Elvin Jones on drums and Sonny Dallas on bass. This spontaneous session, widely regarded as a classic, consisted entirely of standards. The loose trio format aptly featured Konitz's unorthodox phrasing and chromaticism.

In 1967, Konitz recorded The Lee Konitz Duets, a series of duets with various musicians. The duo configurations were often unusual for the period (saxophone and trombone, two saxophones). The recordings drew on very nearly the entire history of jazz, from Louis Armstrong's "Struttin' With Some Barbecue" with valve trombonist Marshall Brown to two completely free duos: one with a Duke Ellington associate, violinist Ray Nance, and one with guitarist Jim Hall.

Konitz contributed to the film score for Desperate Characters (1971).

In 1981 he performed at the Woodstock Jazz Festival, held in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Creative Music Studio.

Konitz has been quite prolific, recording dozens of albums as a band leader. He has also recorded or performed with Dave Brubeck, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Elvin Jones and others. Amongst his latest recordings are a pair of trio dates with Brad Mehldau and Charlie Haden released on Blue Note as well a live album recorded in 2009 at Birdland and released by ECM in 2011 featuring the same lineup with the addition of drummer Paul Motian. Konitz has become more experimental as he has grown older, and has released a number of free and avant-garde jazz albums, playing alongside many far younger musicians. He has released albums on contemporary free jazz/improv labels such as hatART, Soul Note, Omnitone and the aforementioned ECM.

He has also had problems with his heart which he has received surgery for in the past. He was scheduled to appear at Melbourne's Recital Centre as a key attraction of the 2011 Melbourne International Jazz Festival. However he fell ill causing the last minute cancellation of the performance. In August 2012 Konitz played to sell-out crowds at the Blue Note in Greenwich Village as part of Enfants Terribles, a collaboration with Bill Frisell, Gary Peacock and Joey Baron.

As leader

1949-50: With Tristano, Marsh and Bauer (Prestige)
1953: Konitz Meets Mulligan (With Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker) (Pacific)
1954: Konitz (Storyville)
1954: Jazz At Storyville (Storyville)
1954: In Harvard Square (Storyville)
1954: Lee Konitz With Warne Marsh (Atlantic)
1956: Lee Konitz Featuring Hans Koller, Lars Gullin, Roland Kovac (Swingtime)
1956: Inside Hi-Fi (Atlantic)
1957: Tranquility (Verve)
1957: The Real Lee Konitz (Atlantic)
1958: Very Cool (Verve)
1958: An Image: Lee Konitz with Strings (Verve)
1959: Lee Konitz Meets Jimmy Giuffre (Verve)
1959: You and Lee (Verve)
1961: Motion (Verve)
1965: Trio and Quartet (Magnetic)
1966: Modern Jazz Compositions from Haiti (Impulse!)
1967: The Lee Konitz Duets (Milestone: OJC)
1968: Impressive Rome (CAM)
1968: European Episode (CAM)
1969: Peacemeal (Milestone)
1970: Lee Konitz Sax Duets (Music Minus One)
1971: Spirits (Milestone: OJC)
1974: Jazz A Juan (SteepleChase)
1974: Satori (Milestone: OJC)
1974: Lone-Lee (SteepleChase)
1974: I Concentrate on You (A Tribute to Cole Porter) (SteepleChase)
1975: Warne Marsh Quintet: Jazz Exchange (Storyville))
1975: Hal Galper: Windows (SteepleChase)
1975: Trio: Oleo (Sonet)
1975: Chicago 'n' All That Jazz (Denon: LaserLight)
1976: Lee Konitz Meets Warne Marsh Again (PAUSA)
1976: Figure and Spirit (Progressive)
1977: The Lee Konitz Quintet (Chiaroscuro)
1977: The Lee Konitz Nonet (Chiaroscuro)
1977: Tenorlee (Candid)
1977: Pyramid (Improvising Artists)
1979: Seasons Change (Circle Records (Germany), with Karl Berger)
1979 Nonet: Live at Laren (Soul Note)
1979: Yes, Yes Nonet (Steeple Chase)
1980: Martial Solal: Live at the Berlin Jazz Days (MPS)
1980: Heroes (Verve)
1980: Anti-heroes (Verve)
1982: Toot Sweet (Owl)
1982: High Jingo (Atlas Records)
1983: Glad, Koonix! (Dragon)
1983: Martial Solal: Star Eyes, Hamburg 1983 (HatOLOGY)
1983: Dovetail (Sunnyside)
1983: Dedicated To Lee: Lee Konitz Plays The Music of Lars Gullin (Dragon)
1983: Art of the Duo (Enja)
1984: Wild as Springtime (GFM)
1986: Quartet: Ideal Scene (Soul Note)
1986: Medium Rare (Label Bleu)
1987: Quartet: The New York Album (Soul Note)
1988: The Space Jazz Trio: Blew (Philology)
1988: Solitudes (Philology)
1989: In Rio (MA)
1989: Konitz in Denmark (Rightone)
1989: Round and Round (Music Masters)
1990: Frank Wunsch Quartet: S'Nice (Nabel)
1990: Zounds (Soul Note)
1990: Once Upon a Line (Musidisc)
1991: Lars Sjosten Quartet: Friends (Dragon)
1991: Lullaby of Birdland (Candid)
1992: The Jazzpar All Star Nonet: Leewise (Storyville)
1992: Jazz Nocturne (Evidence)
1992: Lunasea (Soul Note)
1992: From Newport to Nice (Philology)
1992: Frank-Lee Speaking (West Wind)
1993: Rhapsody (Evidence)
1993: Renato Sellani: Speakin' Lowly, Volume 1 (Philology)
1993: So Many Stars (Philology)
1993: Rhapsody II (Evidence)
1993: Italian Ballads, Volume1 (Philology)
1993: Brazilian Rhapsody (BMG: Music Masters)
1994: Orchestra Il Suono Improvviso: A Venezia (Philology)
1994: Swiss Kiss (TCB)
1995: Haiku (Nabel)
1995: Umberto Petrin: Breaths and Whispers (Homage to Alexandr Skrjabin) (Philology)
1995: John Pl Indreberg: Step Towards a Dream (Odin)
1995: Don Friedman: Attila Zoller: Thingin' (HatOLOGY)
1995: Move (Moon)
1995: Free with Lee(Philology)
1996: Alone Together (Blue Note)
1996: Live at the Manhattan Jazz Club (GAM)
1996: Guarana (AxolOtl Jazz)
1996: Unaccompanied Live in Yokohama (PSF)
1996: Strings for Holiday: A Tribute To Billie Holiday (Enja)
1996: Lee Konitz Meets Don Friedman (Camerata)
1996: It's You (SteepleChase)
1997: Twelve Gershwin in Twelve Keys (Philology)
1997: Out of Nowhere (SteepleChase)
1997: The Frankfurt Concert (West Wind)
1997: Dearly Beloved (SteepleChase)
1997: Body and Soul (Camerata)
1998: Saxophone Dreams (Koch)
1998: Inside Cole Porter (Philology)
1998: L'Age Mur (Philology)
1998: Tender Lee (for Chet) (Philology)
1998: Self Portrait (Philology)
1998: Dialogues (Challenge)
1999: Dig-It (SteepleChase)
1999: Three Guys (Enja)
1999: Trio: Another Shade of Blue (Blue Note)
2000: The Axis Quartet: Play French Impressionist Music from the Turn of the Twentieth Century (Palmetto)
2000: rich Perry: RichLee! (SteepleChase)
2000 Quartet: Sound of Surprise (RCA Victor)
2000: Pride (SteepleChase)
2001: Franco D'Andrea: Inside Rodgers (Philology)
2001: Renato Sellani: Minority, Volume 2: All The Way (The Soft Ways) (Philology)
2001 Trio: Some New Stuff (DIW)
2001 Quintet: Parallels (Chesky)
2002: Matt Wilson: Gong with Wind Suite (Steeplechase)
2002: Irio De Paula: Duas Contas (Philology)
2002: Barbara Casini: Outra Vez (Philology)
2002: At the New Mississippi Jazz Club (Philology)
2003: Live-Lee (Milestone)
2003: Stephano Bollani: Suite for Paolo (Philology)
2003: Kenny Werner: Unleemited (Owl)
2003: A Day in Florence (Philology)
2004: BargaLee (Philology)
2004: Sound-Lee (Membran International)
2004: One Day With Lee (Capri)
2006: Ohad Talmor String Project: Inventions(OmniTone)
2006: New Nonet (directed by Ohad Talmor) (OmniTone)
2007: Riccardo Arrighini: The Soprano Sax Album: Standards (Philology)
2007: Brian Dickenson: The Glen Gould Session (Philology)
2007: Ohad Talmor Big Band: Portology(featuring the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos) (OmniTone)
2008: Lee Konitz & Minsarah: Deep Lee (Featuring Jeff Denson, Florian weber, Ziv Ravitz) (ENJA)
2009: Lee Konitz / Dan Tepfer: Duos with Lee (Sunnyside)
2009: Lee Konitz New quartet: Live at the village Vanguard (Featuring Jeff Denson, Florian weber, Ziv Ravitz) (ENJA)
2011: Lee Konitz/Brad Mehldau/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian: Live at Birdland (ECM)

As sideman

With Stan Kenton

City of Glass
This Modern World
New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm
Sketches on Standards
Portraits on Standards
Kenton Showcase

With Gerry Mulligan

Lee Konitz and The Gerry Mulligan Quartet
Lee Konitz Plays With The Gerry Mulligan Quartet

With Miles Davis

Birth of the Cool (1949)
Miles Ahead (1957)

With Bill Evans

Crosscurrents (1977)

With Gil Evans

Gil Evans & Ten (1957)

With Max Roach

It's Christmas Again (Soul Note, 1984)

With Lennie Tristano

Lennie Tristano (1956)

With Jakob Bro

Balladeering (Loveland Records, 2009)
Time (Loveland Records, 2011)

With others

1947 - Claude Thornhill and His Orchestra: The Uncollected Claude Thornhill and His Orchestra (Hindsight)
1949 - Lennie Tristano/Warne Marsh: Intuition (Capitol)
1968 - Attila Zoller: Zo-Ko-Ma (MPS Records)
1972 - Charles Mingus: Charles Mingus and Friends in Concert (Columbia)
2006 - Francois Théberge: Soliloque (Effendi Records)
2011 - Marcel·lí Bayer: Nonitz featuring Lee Konitz (Quadrant Records)

With Arkadia Jazz All Stars

Thank You, Gerry!

With Kenny Wheeler

Angel Song (ECM, 1997)

Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
2,323 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Happy Birthday Lee Konitz!
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