As the title suggests, the recording Tenorlee finds Lee Konitz, the great American saxophonist, playing exclusively on tenor. It was a spontaneous decision, and a tribute to his dear friend, Lighthouse All-Star saxophonist Richie Kamuca, who had passed away just days before Konitz entered the studio for these sessions.
Konitz classically trained on the clarinet, but switched to jazz saxophone after being enamored by Lester Young. By 1945 the 18 year old Konitz was performing professionally. He made a staggering 150 albums as a band leader over the course of his long and storied career. He played and recorded with everyone from Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, Ornette Colman, Elvin Jones, and Gerry Mulligan, to Elvis Costello, Brad Mehldau and Charlie Haden. Between 1948 and 1950, he was a member of Miles Davis’ group, and participated in the recordings that would eventually be collected and released as Birth of The Cool.
With a trio featuring Lighthouse All-Star alum Jimmy Rowles on piano and Michael Moore on bass, Kontiz called out old and familiar songs. The intention was to “let the tunes happen” as only finely tuned jazz musicians of certain experience can. Of note is “Lady Be Good” which finds Konitz and Rowles quoting Lester Young’s solo from the 1936 recording with Count Basie.
From 1978, originally on the Choice label, this album has been remastered and is presented here as the artist intended, with its original title, track order and album artwork, for the first time since its original release.
Remastered by Alex McCollough at True East Mastering. Vinyl cut by Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl.