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Album Review

The history of jazz is full of ultra-gifted but self-destructive musicians who should have had very long careers, but instead died much too young (Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, Bix Beiderbecke, among countless others). But that certainly isn't true of Lee Konitz, who turned 80 on October 13, 2007. One cannot accuse Konitz of not living up to his potential or wasting his considerable talent; the alto saxophonist started recording in the late '40s and remained impressively productive 60 years later in the late 2000s. Deep Lee was recorded in September 2007 (when Konitz was 79) and finds him joining forces with the acoustic piano trio Minsarah, which consists of Florian Weber on piano, Jeff Denson on upright bass, and Ziv Ravitz on drums. Konitz enjoys a strong rapport with the members of Minsarah, who are young enough to be his grandchildren — and their encounter yields rewarding post-bop results on an album that is dominated by original material. Konitz has a long history of excelling on Tin Pan Alley standards, but the only Tin Pan Alley warhorse on Deep Lee is "Stella by Starlight"; Konitz, true to form, offers a version that is warm and lyrical but not overly sentimental. And once again, the cool-toned saxophonist demonstrates that cool doesn't mean cold. Konitz also demonstrates that his chops have held up nicely over the years; at 79 bordering on 80, Konitz is clearly very much on top of his game. Deep Lee falls short of essential, but even so, this hourlong CD is a rewarding example of the veteran altoist continuing to excel in his senior years.


Born: October 13, 1927 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most individual of all altoists (and one of the few in the 1950s who did not sound like a cousin of Charlie Parker), the cool-toned Lee Konitz has always had a strong musical curiosity that has led him to consistently take chances and stretch himself, usually quite successfully. Early on he studied clarinet, switched to alto, and played with Jerry Wald. Konitz gained some attention for his solos with Claude Thornhill & His Orchestra (1947). He began studying with Lennie Tristano, who had...
Full bio
Deep Lee, Lee Konitz
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  • $10.89
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jun 06, 2008

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