JJ 05/59: Lee Konitz – The Real Lee Konitz

First published Jazz Journal, May 1959


This is called the “real” Konitz because Konitz himself feels it to be his best recorded work to date. Lee himself chose the material and the company to make the session, which was taped by bassist Ind while the group was on a resident engagement. Konitz then did the editing.

Lee’s alto playing is much looser here and displays a wider emotional range than he’s ever shown on record before – yet he still retains that sad, Semetic wail which has always attracted me to his improvisations. Two of his favourite vehicles for travelling on are “All Of Me” and “Indiana”, represented here in “Straightaway” and “Midway”. These really get going and convince us that this is indeed the “real” Lee Konitz.

The regular pulse of the rhythm section is exciting and the drummer keeps exact time – a lovely thought! Billy Bauer’s chord voicings are a thrill, but Don Ferrara’s trumpet contributions aren’t of sufficient length to be enjoyed.

Anyone who doesn’t believe in Konitz because they heard him over here in sad surroundings should listen to this and think again.
Bob Burns

Straightaway; Foolin’ Myself; You Go To My Head; My Melancholy Baby (19 min) – Pennies In Minor; Sweet & Lovely; Easy Livin’; Midway (18½ min)
Lee Konitz (alto); Billy Bauer (g); Peter Ind (bs); Dick Scott (d); Don Ferrara (tpt on tracks 5, 6).
London LTZ-K15147. 12inLP. 35s. 9d