I have been deeply saddened in the wake of the death of Lee Konitz last week as a result of the COVID-19 virus. The jazz world has absorbed some deep losses in this pandemic, and I have been personally touched first by the passing of Bucky Pizzarelli, a former teacher at William Paterson, and then Lee.
I have been a student of Lee’s music for the last 40 years and got to know him through our mutual associations with Sonny Dallas and Warne Marsh. He was a great artist, role model, and inspiration to all of us. As his career progressed into his nineties I compared him in my mind to Pablo Casals and Arthur Rubinstein, great artists who played well into their late years.
I plan to compose a longer memory and will do so at a later date. I am proud that Lee’s tune “Subconscious Lee” is the first tune on my first CD, and also was recorded in a live performance on my third CD. Here’s to the memory of Lee Konitz, he will not be forgotten.