Lee Konitz – At Storyville (1954 / 1988)

FrontCover1Leon Konitz (October 13, 1927 – April 15, 2020) was an American composer and alto saxophonist.

He performed successfully in a wide range of jazz styles, including bebop, cool jazz, and avant-garde jazz. Konitz’s association with the cool jazz movement of the 1940s and 1950s includes participation in Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool sessions and his work with pianist Lennie Tristano. He was one of relatively few alto saxophonists of this era to retain a distinctive style, when Charlie Parker exerted a massive influence. Like other students of Tristano, Konitz improvised 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. Other saxophonists were strongly influenced by Konitz, such as Paul Desmond and Art Pepper.

He died during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic due to complications brought on by COVID-19.

Lee Konitz at Storyville (aka Jazz at Storyville) is a live album by saxophonist and bandleader Lee Konitz featuring performances recorded in at the Storyville nightclub Boston in 1954 which was originally released as a 10 inch LP on George Wein’s Storyville label. The album was rereleased with additional material in 1988 on the Black Lion label. (wikipedia)

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This excellent set gives one a definitive look at altoist Lee Konitz at a period of time when he was breaking away from being a sideman and a student of Lennie Tristano and asserting himself as a leader. With pianist Ronnie Ball, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Alan Levitt, Konitz explores a variety of his favorite chord changes, some of which were disguised by newer melodies such as “Hi Beck,” “Subconscious Lee,” and “Sound Lee.” Among the other high points of this well-recorded set are “Foolin’ Myself” and a lengthy exploration of “If I Had You.” (by Scott Yanow)


Ronnie Ball (piano)
Percy Heath (bass)
Lee Konitz (saxophone)
Al Levitt (drums)

CD front+ backcover from Black, Lion, 1998:

01. Introduction by John McLelland (*) 0.52
02. Hi Beck (Konitz) 7.29
03. If I Had You (*) (King/Shapiro) 11.16
Subconscious Lee (Konitz) 5.33
05. Sound Lee (Konitz) 6.36
06. Foolin’ Myself (*) (Lawrence/Tinturin) 5.58
07. Introduction by John McLelland (*) 0.45
08. Ablution (*) (Konitz) 4.43
These Foolish Things (Link/Marvell/Strachey) 4.09
10. End Announcement by John McLelland (*) 0.34

(*) bonus tracks



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Leon Konitz (October 13, 1927 – April 15, 2020)