Other Places (2): Konitz On Bird

On his New England Public Radio blog, Tom Reney’s new post on Charlie Parker includes Lee Konitz material for which he credits Rifftides. I thank Tom, but I thank him more for including a clip of Lee Konitz talking about what it was like to work and travel with Bird in their mutual Stan Kenton days of the 1950s. To hear Konitz on Parker, go here. The clip is at the end of the piece.

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  1. Terence Smith says

    Re: Lee Konitz’s description of Bird in a musical house of mirrors, wth nearly everyone playing the omnibook of his exact Bird phrases, with no choice but to reinvent or “get out of town.” This is plaintive in the extreme and doubtless true. Lee Konitz did and continues to do the ultimate tribute to Bird; he is completely Lee Konitz, while channeling some of the spirit of Charlie Parker.

    If I may put in my two cents about Lee Konitz: he has so many great albums that you can’t really have a favorite, and he is so ever-creative that there can be no last word about Lee. But I have to say that my acquisition of the Lee Konitz Verve LP Motion, which was recorded in August, 1961, was at the top tier of eternal value for me. It’s just Lee, Elvin Jones who was then playing drums with Coltrane, and bassist Sonny Dallas. I’ve listened to it a million times, always amazed by its endless invention and unique energy.

    But it gets better. In 1998, Motion was reissued as a 3-CD set, with alternate takes with Konitz, Elvin Jones, and Dallas, but best yet: two full CDs of Konitz Trio numbers with Sonny Dallas, bass and Nick Stabulas, drums. Turns out these were recorded first, with the rythm section playing more in the Lennie Tristano aesthetic. To those who only know the original Motion with Elvin, I defy you to prefer it to the alternate, more Tristano-ish approach taken on the two “new” reissue CDs. They are co-equal. For one thing, if you always loved “I Remember You” with Lee and Elvin, you get five straight takes of “I Remember You” with the OTHER trio. The level of invention, surprise, endless new ideas, is just astounding.

    If you haven’t heard the 3-CD Motion reissue you should do so, “Advised-Lee.”