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Lee Konitz

Alto Saxophone

Born on Oct. 13, 1927 in Chicago, alto saxophonist, Lee Konitz first made his mark, playing saxophone in Claude Thornhill's orchestra in 1947. A year later, when he was only 20, he participated in the historic Miles Davis-Gil Evans "Birth of the Cool" nonet and worked with the influential pianist Lennie Tristano. His partnership with Tristano and the iconoclastic tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh had a profound influence on Konitz. Early in the 1950s he broke away from the cool style and found his own way, first in Europe in 1951, later as a member of Stan Kenton's band until 1954. He also recorded his own sessions as a leader such as an impressive Verve date with Elvin Jones, entitled Motion. He then went into a period of semi-retirement in the early '60s, only to come back with his monumental "Duets" album in 1967 for the Milestones label. Konitz would sometimes reunite with March, and sometimes he would find new ground such as in the late 70s when he returned to the nonet form of the Birth of the Cool days. From the '70s to the '90s, Konitz has led a variety of ensembles. Lee Konitz is a player with a deep, clean, somewhat detached style, who manages to find airy and cliché-free lines in his music. He definitely is one of those musicians who are difficult to pigeonhole into any particular style or era.

Recommended recordings:
Subconcious-Lee OJC 186-2
Duets OJC 466-2
Satori OJC 958-2
Spirits OJC 1024-2
Motion Verve
Warne Marsh / Lee Konitz Koch jazz
Nonet Chiaroscuro
Live at the Half Note Verve 521-659
Rhapsody Evidence Music
Rhapsody II Evidence Music
Konitz Meets Mulligan Blue Note
Another Shade of Blue Blue Note
Alone Together Blue Note
Sound Of Surprise BMG/RCA
Inside Hi-Fi Koch Jazz