Like many jazz musicians associated with the 1950s Cool jazz scene, saxophonist Lee Konitz's beautiful tone has often blinded critics to his innovative spirit, though he quickly earned the notice of his peers in the late '40s from his work with Lennie Tristano and Miles Davis. These sides were not immediately popular, but the public quickly caught on to them in the '50s. The sense of adventure on these recordings kept Konitz on his toes, and he went on to work with such disparate iconoclasts as Stan Kenton, Jimmy Guiffre, Bill Evans, and Joe Henderson. He has kept up a consistent level of excellence throughout the decades, recording pieces that challenge the mind without assaulting the ears. He and a series of spectacular guests chart the entire history of jazz, from New Orleans jams to Avant-Garde free-form explorations on his 1967 Duets album.
Lee Konitz Concert Films
Alto Saxophone Jazz Solos
Runtime: 50 minOne of the most individual of all alto saxophone players, 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. The Jazz Sessions spotlights unaccompanied performances by some of the legends and bright young stars of the jazz world. Designed and recorded specifically for television, SOLOS offers viewers front row seats for an intimate and unique jazz experience. Each program features complete musical pieces, insightful interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage. Shot in stunning HDTV with multiple moving cameras and a medley of elegant cinematic lighting, SOLOS showcases an exciting and dynamic variety of jazz styles - from the blues and boogie-woogie to bebop and the experimental.
Lee Konitz Top Tracks
The Miles Davis Story
Runtime: 2 hr 4 minTrumpeter-bandleader Miles Davis (1926-91) was a catalyst for the major innovations in post-bop, cool jazz, hard-bop, and jazz-fusion, and his wispy and emotional trumpet tones were some of the most evocative sounds ever heard. He was also one of the most identifiable and misunderstood pop icons of the 20th century. This engrossing British documentary shows the complex layers of this magnificent and mercurial artist. Through rare footage and interviews, we learn of Davis's middle-class upbringing and his early days with bop legends Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. The documentary bluntly deals with Davis's narcotic nadir and his rise from the depths to become a bona fide jazz icon in the mid-'50s to late '60s. But the most penetrating and poignant portraits of Davis come from musicians who played with and were influenced by him, including Shirley Horn, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, and Keith Jarrett.
Runtime: 1 hr 41 minRobert Mugge's SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS looks at tenor saxophone master Sonny Rollins, among the greatest artists in jazz history. Named after one of Rollins' best-known albums, the 1986 film documents an ensemble performance in upstate New York and the world premiere of his Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra in Japan. Interviewed are Sonny and Lucille Rollins and three top jazz critics.