While bebop was the jazz avant-garde of the late 1940’s, there was a parallel movement about the same time as pianist Lennie Tristano and alto saxophonist Lee Konitz unofficially led the school of cool jazz. While preeminent alto icon Charlie Parker burned hot and bluesy (while still abstract), Konitz had an altogether drier, more cerebral, and subdued approach. Besides Tristano, he performed and recorded with Miles Davis, and bandleaders Claude Thornhill and Stan Kenton, before finally establishing himself as a leader. As his career extends into the ‘00s, Konitz is one of the few players of his generation who still stretches himself. Ever contemporary, he’s recorded unaccompanied; with straight-ahead trios and quartets, etc.; and with string sections; and has engaged in totally free improvisation with the U.K. collective Company (often featuring Derek Bailey).
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