NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) – Legendary modern jazz alto saxophonist, Lee Konitz, has passed away at the age of 92.
Konitz died on Wednesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York as a result of pneumonia related to COVID-19.
Born in Chicago in 1927 to Jewish immigrant parents, Konitz first took up the clarinet at age 11, however, soon switched to alto saxophone. His earliest gigs were as part of jazz orchestras led by Teddy Powell. He was later mentored by the esteemed blind pianist Lennie Tristano and went on to work under bandleaders such as Stan Kenton and Claude Thornhill, among others.
While Konitz was best known for his work with Miles Davis on the 1949 and 1950 sessions for the album Birth of the Cool, he also played alongside jazz greats including Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Elvin Jones, and Dizzy Gillespie, and collaborated with the likes of Charlie Haden, Brad Mehldau, and numerous others. He is credited with advancing the “cool jazz” sound of the 50s as well as the much more improvisatory style that became synonymous with ’60s jazz.
Konitz is survived by two sons, Josh and Paul, and three daughters, Rebecca, Stephanie and Karen.