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Lee Konitz

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Happy Birthday Lee Konitz

Lee Konitz is an alto saxophonist and composer born on October 13, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois. He is considered one of the driving forces of Cool Jazz but has also performed successfully in bebop and avant-garde settings. Konitz was one of the few to retain the distinctive sound of the 1940's, escaping the influence of Charlie Parker that had such a pronounced effect on the styles of many other alto players.

Konitz's was first inspired to begin playing the clarinet as a young boy while listening to Benny Goodman on the radio, but dropped the instrument in favor of the tenor saxophone, later switching to alto.

He began his professional career in 1945 with the Teddy Powell band as a replacement for Charlie Ventura. Perhaps more notably in 1949 he teamed up with the Miles Davis group for one or two weeks and again in 1950 to record Birth of the Cool.

In August 2012 Konitz played to sell-out crowds at The Blue Note in Greenwich Village as part of "Enfants Terribles;" a collaboration with Bill Frisell, Gary Peacock, and Joey Baron.

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