It was announced earlier today that alto saxophone legend, LEE KONITZ, has succumbed to Covid 19 at the age of 92.
Born in Chicago in 1927, Konitz started out on clarinet, inspired by the “King of Swing”, Benny Goodman, before moving to the saxophone. He rose to fame in the late 1940s as an adherent of bebop, the modern jazz movement begun by his good friend, Charlie Parker. Konitz made his first solo long-player in 1949, the year that he also contributed to Miles Davis’ groundbreaking nonet sessions, later collected together as ‘Birth Of The Cool.’
During his long and storied career, Konitz – famed for his long, elliptical melodic lines – ploughed his own stylistic furrow, occupying a territory lying somewhere between cool and avant-garde jazz. Konitz’s collaborators including Warne Marsh, Gil Evans, Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, Charlie Haden and in recent years, contemporary jazz leading light, pianist Brad Mehldau.
He died on April 15th 2020 in New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital from pneumonia cause by coronavirus.
Konitz is the sixth notable jazz musician to die from Covid 19 so far.