Lee Konitz fronting the OJM at the Douro Jazz Festival

Brief biography of Lee Konitz on the release of Lee Konitz-Ohad Talmor Big Band: Portology (OmniTone 15217)

Lee Konitz, winner of the prestigious Jazzpar Prize in 1992 (considered by many to be the highest international prize for jazz), continues to be one of the most individualistic of all alto saxophonists.  Throughout his 60+ year career, his innovative drive — starting with his 1940's "cool school" explorations with Claude Thornhill, Lennie Tristano, Stan Kenton, and Miles Davis' groundbreaking Birth of the Cool band and continuing through his revolutionary 1967 duos recording with nine musicians representing styles from early jazz to post-bop — has consistently led him to musical contexts and collaborations that extend or redefine "jazz," beginning. 

The list of Konitz's collaborators reads like a Who's Who of jazz invention (and re-invention): Gerry Mulligan, Warne Marsh, Bill Evans, Paul Motian, Jimmy Giuffre, Elvin Jones, Charles Mingus, Andrew Hill, Gil Evans, Karl Berger, Don Sebesky, and even Bobby McFerrin.

In recent years, Konitz has collaborated with international powerhouse saxophonist, composer, and arranger Ohad Talmor to create "larger ensemble" contexts for Konitz that spotlight his underrecognized skills as a composer and his playing prowess — even after 50 years on the jazz scene (!).  These projects include the Lee Konitz-Ohad Talmor String Project (featuring the Spring String Quartet), the Lee Konitz New Nonet (directed by Ohad Talmor), and the Lee Konitz-Ohad Talmor Big Band (featuring the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos).  World debut recordings of all three ensembles are available on OmniTone titled, respectively, Inventions, New Nonet, and Portology.

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