Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lee Konitz & the Incredible Shrinking Jazz Section

As any jazz fan knows all too well, the jazz section is steadily shrinking everywhere it still exists.  By "jazz section" I mean a section of jazz CDs in any room where other genres are sold.  This is no great tragedy.  The jazz sections are shrinking along with CD rooms as a whole.  This is largely because of the the fact that the offerings of music available have expanded exponentially online (and because movies are still purchased largely in plastic media).  

It does discomfort me, however, that every time I pop into The Electric Fetus ( a great record store in Minneapolis) the jazz section seems to by smaller by about the length of a bass clarinet.  Worse than discomfort, I feel morally obligated to buy something in inverse proportion to the volume of offerings. 
Saturday, happily, I found something that allowed me to exit the store happy and guilt free.  Black Saint & Soul Note had a box set of remastered albums by the Lee Konitz Quartet.  Each disc comes in a slip cover with the original artwork and some of the liner notes.  For about $35 it contained five Konitz albums, not one of which I  possessed.  This is a jazz collectors box of gold.  Here are the albums:
  1. Live at Laren 
  2. Ideal Scene
  3. The New York Album
  4. Zounds
  5. Lunasea 
So far I have only sampled 2-4.   They are splendid and well worth the price of the box.  

I am playing 'Ezz-thetic' and 'Stare-Case' from Ideal Scene
From The New York Album, I am playing 'Limehouse Blues'.  Substitute Marc Johnson and Adam Nussbaum for Reid and Harewood.  

The real gem is Zounds, much more devoted to free jazz.  
  • Alto and Soprano Saxophone – Lee Konitz
  • Kenny Werner –piano, synthesizer
  • Ron McClure –bass
  • Bill Stewart –drums
 I am playing 'All Things Considered', a lengthy showpiece for Konitz's genius, and 'Soft Lee', with Konitz on soprano.  There is a lot of Konitz on JazzNoteNSU right now. 

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