Subconcious-Lee (1955) by Lee Konitz

Categories: 1949, 1950, and 1955.

Because it was released half a decade after it was recorded, this album’s revolutionary status gets overlooked or ignored. Instead it’s Birth of the Cool this and Miles Davis’ Nonet that. And that praise is deserved. Those sides went a long way to establishing cool jazz, but this band was doing remarkably similar things at the same time. The one major difference is speed – Konitz and the other soloists play fast on a number of tracks, and that makes it sound more like bop (though if you listen to the rhythm section they sound significantly “cooler”) and so you could argue that Birth of the Cool is truer to the genre it created. But there is still a lot of really laid-back, dreamy, “cool” playing here that sounds like someone stepping from bop into the newly emerging genre. And, though it may not be quite as revolutionary as Birth of the Cool, it nearly is and, perhaps more importantly, I’d argue it’s dated better.

10/10

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