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Lee Konitz has died. He was one of the last links to Charlie Parker and Lennie Tristano. He developed a delicate and lean, scribble-like, written and overwritten sound. In the 1980s you could hear him play in a little club near Columbia University with only a beer or two minimum cover. 

Lee Konitz with Warne Marsh, and Billy Bauer on guitar, "I can't get started" –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDUIJR3v_Qk&list=PL0q2VleZJVElzRYrZXCCXz-GPztWg4Rl_&index=3

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His first big break came in 1947 when he joined the Claude Thornhill orchestra, whose soft sound and pastel colors meshed well with his playing style. A subsequent stint with the more dynamic and aggressive Stan Kenton ensemble proved an uneasy musical mix but helped spread his name in the jazz world.

The recordings that did the most to establish Mr. Konitz’s reputation were made in the late 1940s and early ’50s, after he had moved to New York, under the leadership of two of the most distinctive artists in modern jazz: the pianist and composer Lennie Tristano, with whom he studied for several years and whose unorthodox approach to improvisation helped shape his own; and the trumpeter Miles Davis, whose short-lived but influential nine-piece band sought to adapt the ethereal Thornhill sound to a bebop context.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/arts/music/lee-konitz-dead-coronavirus.html

Edited by Quiggin

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My jazz collection is tiny, hardly warranting the name, and I don't think I have anything of Mr. Konitz apart from  "Birth of the Cool," unfortunately. He seems to have had a special airiness to his sound, with an instrument that so often seems to be played heavily, so to speak. 

90 plus is a good run, but as with the death of Freeman Dyson, it's sad to lose the last links to a great era, especially when they still seem engaged with much to offer. Thank you for posting, Quiggin.

The Guardian

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He began playing professionally, and encountered Lennie Tristano, the blind, autocratic, musically visionary Chicago pianist who was probably the biggest single influence on the cool movement. Tristano valued an almost mathematically pristine melodic inventiveness over emotional colouration in music, and was obsessive in its pursuit. “He felt and communicated that music was a serious matter,” Konitz said. “It wasn’t a game, or a means of making a living, it was a life force.”

 

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