Sunday, April 19, 2020

Knowing Lee

Once again we are gathered for Sunday services, today in honor of another COVID casualty.
We'll call this one Reason #12,778,909,216 the current US administration should be flown to The Hague, tried for Crimes Against Humanity, and hanged before a cheering, relieved world. There, I said it.
Today's fallen sound warrior was kind of the last of the pre-Bebop Jazz cats, and also one of the prime inventors of the Cool school.
He fashioned his singular style during the rise of the Bop idiom, almost as a living counterweight to the frenetic, 1000-notes-per-bar stuff that was just bursting upon the scene.
As the 1940s became the 1950s he found his principal collaborators in Warne Marsh and Lennie Tristano, and together they built an alternative Jazz universe to the prevalent strains of the times.
People harp on his alleged rivalry with Charlie Parker, but from what I've read the two were close friends.
I just was looking at all the sessions in which he participated from the 1940s until recently. There are hundreds and hundreds.
Perhaps the most famous session he was on was the aptly-titled Birth of the Cool in 1949, the Miles Davis LP that kicked off the Cool revolution and one which is still considered a seminal touchstone in the whole vast panoply of the music.
His career was as long and as prolific as any player you could name, and he was still doing it until he was felled by the dreaded virus at age 92 just a few days ago.
There isn't much else to say except that his longevity and endless creativity put Lee Konitz squarely in the overall conversation for the top spot in the Alto Saxophone Hall of Fame, and at the very least somewhere in the top 10 all time.
To mark the unfortunate occasion of his passing, we'll send out this tremendous duo set with his pal Paul Motian on drums, taped just a month after the 9/11/2001 attacks and not that far from Ground Zero.
  Lee Konitz & Paul Motian 
  Duets On the Hudson 
  Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse
  New York City, NY USA

01 announcements
02 1st improvisation
03 2nd improvisation

Total time: 52:04

Lee Konitz - alto saxophone
Paul Motian - drums

soundboard DAT master
declipped, slighlty edited for dead air, and converted to 16/44 CD Audio by EN, April 2020
I'll be back soon with even more for you, but please do enjoy this fully-improvised excursion from two of the masters of such things, given in respect to the monument of music left by the incredible Lee Konitz.--J.
10.13.1927 - 4.15.2020

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