ep1str0phy

Lee Konitz R.I.P.

145 posts in this topic

10 minutes ago, Milestones said:

Listening to Sound of Surprise, with John Abercrombie (also passed) on most tracks.  One of my favorite Lee Konitz records.  

Thanks for the recommendation, this sounds like one I would like. Just ordered a copy.

R-2435234-1515164571-1359.jpeg.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually liked this a lot more than i thought I would when it first came out. My thinking was, "If it was so good, why did it take so long to come out?". How wrong I was. :) I was able to get Lee to sign it at one of the many times I saw him perform.

No photo description available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lee recorded a pretty astonishg number of fine sessions this century. SOUND OF SURPRISE, SOME NEW STUFF, KNOWING LEE, COSTUMES ARE MANDATORY.

That said, some of my favorite later-period Lee can be found on L'AGE MUR (Philology) from 1997, a reunion with Enrico Rava. Incredibly supple support here by bassist Rosario Bonaccorso, and drummer Massimo Manzi.

https://www.discogs.com/es/Konitz-Rava-Quartet-LAge-M%C3%BCr/release/2854381

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surely one of the last surviving members, if not the last, of Claude Thornhill's late-1940s orchestra?  And one of the few alto players from that era to set a flight course different from Bird's, though that was just the beginning of an astonishingly original career.  My first discographical stop today will probably be the Atlantic sessions that Larry annotated so splendidly for the Mosaic Tristano/Konitz/Marsh set.  He sure did leave us a wealth of wonderful music to enjoy.  

Also a recommendation for this book:

Lee Konitz: Conversations on the Improviser's Art

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some favorite Lee memories: With Al Cohn at the Jazz Showcase in 1980, with bassist Jim Atlas and Wilbur Campbell. Hearing Al and Lee together to my mind led to thoughts of their fundamental Jewishness -- Al "a fierce Maccabean rabbi of the tenor saxophone," Lee "the alto's Talmudic scholar." Then at the Showcase in 1986 with Jodie Christian, Steve Rodby, and Wilbur. Lee had written about the ten levels of paraphrase, with level ten being sublime. This set was at level ten.Don't if there was any prior discussion among the players, but Jodie in particular grasped what the collective goal was, and everyone brought it home.

On a personal note: When Lee was in town with a George Gruntz big band, I went with a very beautiful jazz-loving ex-girlfriend (half Filipino, half-Polish) from college days with whom I remained quite friendly. She made it clear that she wanted to meet Lee, so we went backstage, I introduced them, and from there, as I found out later, they went back to her apartment. Lee asked her if he could put on a record and then said "Let's dance," holding out his arms -- clearly thinking that one level of physical contact soon would lead to another. At this, my old girlfriend,  probably amused at the transparency of Lee's would-be ploy, began to giggle uncontrollably (a tendency she had under stress). Her giggling apparently altered the situation in Lee's mind, as well it might have, and he soon departed.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amazing stories.

I suppose Peter Ind, Tox Drohar, and Ted Brown are the last remaining members of that original Tristano school?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems I was lucky to see him perform live on five occasions. The best was at Smalls, backed by an excellent trio of Italian jazz musicians.

1987: George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band at Caravan of Dreams

1999: with Ted Brown, Earl May at Birdland

2007: Guest appearance with Frank Morgan at Jazz Standard

2008: With Marco Di Gennaro Trio at Smalls.

2017: Quartet with Dan Tepfer on piano, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw him live firstly in the late 80s , memory is hazy as to the touring line up . Second time was 1995 Old Fruitmarket Glasgow with Motian, Lovano, Frisell ( Broadway)

finally in 2000 he played with a local section who acquitted themselves very well. I recall his delight that bassist Kenny Ellis knew Tristano’s ‘317 East 32nd St.’ well enough to play in unison during Lee’s ‘solo’. I think that was the last time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, sonnymax said:

Rest peacefulee.

91934O7sV9L._SL1500_.jpg

That's a winner! :tup

42 minutes ago, clifford_thornton said:

Amazing stories.

I suppose Peter Ind, Tox Drohar, and Ted Brown are the last remaining members of that original Tristano school?

Fortunately, we still have Peter Ind with us as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

January 2006 with François Théberge and Stéphane Belmondo at Sunside (Paris).

Devastating news. All my gratitude for the music!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, bresna said:

I actually liked this a lot more than i thought I would when it first came out. My thinking was, "If it was so good, why did it take so long to come out?". How wrong I was. :) I was able to get Lee to sign it at one of the many times I saw him perform.

No photo description available.

I think Bill Evans was the problem that evening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

RIP.

I missed him when he played in Athens in 2014 (my mom's illness was at the final stage).

edit: the last survivor from the Birth of the Cool sessions. Gunther Schuller before him.

Edited by RiRiIII

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unlike most of the people here I’ve seen very few live shows. The year I graduated from college, 1978, Konitz played an afternoon gig at the Marriott in Providence. I don’t remember anything about the rhythm section, I assume they were local. Herb Pomeroy joined in to make it a quintet. I remember enjoying it quite a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just remembered that Konitz did a stint with Stan Kenton's Innovations orchestra in the early 1950s as well.  (Was that the gig that supposedly caused friction between him and Tristano?)  Damn, what a discography.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I caught Lee a couple of times-the first time I saw him was with Warne Marsh and Bill Evans in New York in '76, but I would have to grow quite a bit to understand what I had seen.  Youth is wasted etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, John Tapscott said:

Saw him once in Toronto with a local rhythm section.

Would that have been at the ‘Bermuda Onion’?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

Just remembered that Konitz did a stint with Stan Kenton's Innovations orchestra in the early 1950s as well.  (Was that the gig that supposedly caused friction between him and Tristano?)  Damn, what a discography.  

Not sure about the Innovations Orchestra...I think it was the band after that, the so-called "New Concepts" band.

Also not sure about the friction between those two specifically, but Lee frequently referred to having felt a draft from some in that circle, for various reasons ranging from purely esthetic to more practical (like it "ruining" his tone).

Lee was always consistent though - he had a family to support, he needed a steady gig, and Kenton gave him one. Whatever musical/esthetic reservations he might have had about that gig, he kept them to himself, best as I can tell, focusing on that debt of personal gratitude in being able to meet a very profound need.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, sidewinder said:

Would that have been at the ‘Bermuda Onion’?

No, Bourbon Street, where the Paul Desmond Live album was recorded.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

3 minutes ago, John Tapscott said:

No, Bourbon Street, where the Paul Desmond Live album was recorded.   

Ah - OK. The ‘Bermuda Onion’ was where I saw him, 1989 (Summer).

Edited by sidewinder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

32 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

Just remembered that Konitz did a stint with Stan Kenton's Innovations orchestra in the early 1950s as well.  (Was that the gig that supposedly caused friction between him and Tristano?)  Damn, what a discography.  

It wasn't the big Innovations Orchestra, but the slightly later "New Concepts" band,  mid '52-early 54.  Lee's playing with Kenton was excellent IMO. The Bill Russo and Bill Holman charts were ideally suited to him. And yes, Lennie was angry with Lee for going with Kenton, but Lee had a family and needed a lot more money than Lennie could pay.  

Edited by John Tapscott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, John Tapscott said:

No, Bourbon Street, where the Paul Desmond Live album was recorded.   

Was that in the late '70s? I saw him there then.  Went with Jane Fair who knew him so we had a drink with him between sets.  I also saw him  with Tristano and Marsh at some place that didn't last long on Dupont street.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

5 minutes ago, medjuck said:

Was that in the late '70s? I saw him there then.  Went with Jane Fair who knew him so we had a drink with him between sets.  I also saw him  with Tristano and Marsh at some place that didn't last long on Dupont street.

Yes, maybe ' 78; more likely '79 or even '80. I saw a lot of great players there during the years I worked in Toronto ('78-'84). Every second Friday night (pay-day) I would first hit the record stores and then Bourbon Street or some other jazz club. 

Edited by John Tapscott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I consider myself lucky to have seen him 2-3 times. I follow Antonio Hart on his instagram feed and he said it well.. Between McCoy and coronavirus I'm getting numb to these losses. Awful...  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RIP was privileged to see him numerous times, from a gig in Bristol in 80s where he said the band had just eaten in a Greek restaurant so the improvisations might include some bouzouki music. Ronnie’s early 90s with Kenny Wheeler where he looked hacked off with noisy yuppie crowd, same era Jazz Cafe with Atilla Zoller where he made everyone stop smoking while he played, good on him,  Rebirth of the Cool tour where I couldn’t clap as my companion was bootlegging (nice stereo recording), his 80th at Carnegie Hall with Ted Brown compered by Phil Schaa, and more recently Cheltenham where he spent most of the gig scatting but then let rip on the alto on 317 E32nd. If I only I could play that now as well, never mind in my late 80s. What a player. 
 

Do I recall he fell out with Mulligan on the rebirth tour and pulled out part way through the European leg?

Anthony 

London

Some amusing recollections from someone driving Lee to Cheltenham Jazz one year

 

https://windmilldays.wordpress.com/2020/04/16/day-21/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.