Lee Konitz

Very Cool/Tranquility

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Lee Konitz was, by 1957, firmly established as an individualist capable of forging his path away from the alleged West Coast Cool School. So the reissued titles included on this single CD -- Very Cool and Tranquility -- could be deceiving. Flying away from peers Paul Desmond and Art Pepper, Konitz on his trusty alto sax braved the waters of third stream and early creative improvising, which would hold him in good stead for the remainder of his career. Those inferences are clearly imbued on this reissue. The two bands heard here are quite distinct, as the witty and mostly wonderful Very Cool sessions feature underappreciated trumpeter Don Ferrara in a quintet with Konitz, doing standards, the Konitz composition "Kary's Trance," and two of Ferrara's tunes. On the Tranquility sides, the trumpet and piano leave, replaced by guitarist Billy Bauer, another unsung jazz giant. Heavyweights Henry Grimes on bass and drummer Dave Bailey prove one of the best units Konitz ever fronted. They do more standards, a single original by Bauer or Konitz, and one from their collective mentor, Lennie Tristano. This CD is a marvelous time capsule revealing much about Konitz, this pivot point time period, and the late-50s state of modern, progressive mainstream hard to post-bop jazz.

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