7/27/05

Lee Konitz- the 10 level system


I've always really loved the way Lee Konitz plays. Recently my friend Dan Gaynor transcribed a ton of Konitz, Marsh and Tristano tunes and we learned them together. That gave me a new interest in Lee's concept. His lines are amazingly cool and his compositional approach to constructing his improvisations blow me away. Yes, he is still right out of Tristano's school but I do view him as a true innovator of the saxophone. He has such an expressive personal sound and he changed the way many saxophonists played eighth-notes.

Here is a desciption of Lee's concept:
Lee Konitz has developed an approach to improvisation based on a 10-level system. The first, and most important level is the song itself . It then progresses incrementally through more sophisticated stages of embellishment, gradually displacing the original theme with new ones. The process culminates in the creation of an entirely new melodic structure. Konitz calls this final level "an act of pure inspiration." - D.K.

Here the link to the article on Mel Martin's site, it has examples of ten 8 bar sections of progressive development in Lee's own script-

The 10-level system

Pages of Lee in his own words

2 comments:

MrBill66 said...

More good stuff. It's easy to see what's going on in the first few levels, but then its not immediately obvious what's happening. It would probably be fruitful to try and apply this technique to other melodies and see what might transpire.

cheers, Bill

Anonymous said...

Hi David ,would you care to elaborate on the comment about Lee changing the way saxophone players played eighth notes?
PB Manchester UK