Lee Konitz

Lee Konitz  (born October 13, 1927) is an American composer and alto saxophonist.  He has 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 notable during this era as one of relatively few alto saxophonists to retain a distinctive style when Charlie Parker exerted a massive influence.  Like other students of Tristano, Konitz was noted for improvising 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, notably Paul Desmond and Art Pepper.  (More from Wikipedia)

The 1960’s psychedelic/progressive rock band Spirit formed in Los Angeles in 1967, growing out of an earlier L.A. band called the Red Roosters.  The inclusion of Randy California’s stepfather Ed Cassidy (drums) brought the band an added dimension that was missing from most 1960’s rock bands:  Besides being much older than the other bandmembers, Cassidy cut his teeth playing in numerous jazz bands including stints with Cannonball AdderleyGerry MulliganRoland KirkThelonious Monk, and Lee Konitz.  Ed Cassidy was also a founding member of the 1964 band Rising Sons that also included Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder.  


(November 2014)


Last edited: March 22, 2021