A duo album of the highest caliber! US Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz’s career encompassed the beginnings of bebop, cool jazz, and mainstream, as well as the Avant-garde. Konitz has recorded with virtually every major modern jazz figure of the last 60 years, from Miles Davis and his seminal Birth of the Cool album, Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, Brad Mehldau, to Bill Frisell and Paul Motian. French-Algerian pianist Martial Solal has been a major musical voice since the 1950’s. Born in 1927, the same year as Konitz, the 93-year-old Solal and his ferocious virtuoso technique was the perfect foil for Konitz’s cerebral, introspective play. The two had a rich musical relationship from the late 1960’s on, as they toured together throughout the US and Europe. This album, recorded at the Berlin Jazz Days 1980 was conceived in part as a “Lennie Tristano Memorial”. Lee’s studies and playing experience with the iconoclastic pianist left an indelible imprint on the saxophonist’s concept and allowed him to develop a unique style that offered an alternate musical vision from that of his legendary contemporary, altoist Charlie Parker
Lee Konitz was 92 when he died in Manhattan on April 15, 2020 from complications caused by covid 19. Konitz always contended that he was “just a standards player”, yet he also stated that “My playing was about making a personal statement — I wanted to play original music”. Both were true – he transformed those standards into his personal vision, and in so doing has found his place in the jazz pantheon.