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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Lee Konitz


LEE KONITZ (saxophonist, composer) was born October 13, 1927 in Chicago Illinois. Spanning the bebop to avant garde genres, altoist Konitz is best known as one of the pioneers of the “Cool Jazz” sound and for his role in the legendary “Birth of the Cool” album with Miles Davis. Konitz himself credited an early mentor, pianist Lennie Tristano with the seeds of that movement. Growing up listening to big bands, Konitz retained a distinctive sound apart from his good friend Charlie Parker and influenced Paul Desmond and Art Pepper. Konitz released his first album among many as leader in 1949, and performed with such artists as Stan Kenton in the 60s, Elvin Jones, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan, Ornette Coleman and others, becoming more experimental in his later career.