It's mentioned in the author's introduction to this new tome that Konitz himself had doubts that people would be interested in a series of interviews with him at book length. However, this is a thoroughly absorbing read: a must-have for Konitz fans but highly recommended for anyone interested in jazz, the art of musical improvisation and the creative process.
The book is dedicated "to the memory of Lennie Tristano (1919-1978) and indeed one of the issues raised in the book is the recognition of which Tristano and many of his dedicated students/adherents (Konitz being one of them, though he is happy with the attention his music has received) have been deprived.
What is most engrossing are Konitz' thoughts on the art of improvising. Pushing aside and through the facile anecdotes, Konitz talks about why he is totally dedicated to "really improvising , avoiding licks or "showboating while focusing on melody. Author Andy Hamilton really does his homework along these lines, quoting and referencing other interviews related to the Konitz idea of "getting away from fixed functions .
There are contradictions and ambivalent feelings and in Walt Whitman style they are all laid out in the open for all to be examined: the role of blues in jazz, for instance. "I do play the blues every day, but not "bluesy blues. I just play it as a form, with or without the standard harmonic structure ... it's a great short story form. It's still a challenge to me to play that form ... and not sound corny.
I love jazz because it's sophisticated, international, atmospheric yet free, cool and warm.
I was first exposed to jazz through the sultry voice and flawless swing of my mother.
I met Mark Murphy, David Linx, Kurt Elling, and Youn Sun Nah.
The best show I ever attended was Youn Sun Nah in Paris.
The first jazz record I bought was Native Dancer by Wayne Shorter and Milton Nascimento
My advice to new listeners: open your mind and your ears, forget about structure, feel the textures.
Go see live music and keep buying CDs!