Lee Konitz

Subconscious-Lee [Prestige]

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A debut for both Lee Konitz and the Prestige label, Subconscious-Lee brings together many of the students who came through Lennie Tristano's idiosyncratic "school" of jazz during the immediate postwar years. Forging a heady approach to Charlie Parker's innovations, full of lithe and at times super fast solo lines, Tristano and his favorite pupil Konitz in particular nurtured an introverted, wan, yet still swinging alternative to the frenetic muscle of bebop. Other students like tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, pianist Sal Mosca, and bassist Arnold Fishkin staked claims as well and show up prominently here. And while Tristano's "Judy" and "Retrospection" get mired in somewhat tired contemplation, Konitz' "Subconscious-Lee" and Marsh's "Marshmallow" stand out with brisk tempos, cascading horn lines, and fetching head statements. Avoiding the meandering course of his originals, Tristano shines at the piano with a bevy of exciting and substantial solos; Mosca and guitarist Billy Bauer keep up the good work with fine contributions of their own. Good for both mind and feet and chock-full of groundbreaking work by Konitz and Marsh especially, this 1949-1950 recording makes for essential jazz listening. [One bonus track, "Progression," is added to this version of Subconscious-Lee.]

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