Track Selection: “Kary’s Trance“, guitar duet Billy Bauer:
Lee Konitz (as, ts) Billy Bauer (g) Arnold Fishkin (b) Dick Scott (d) recorded NYC, October 16, 1956
A recent convert to Lee Konitz, the more I hear the more I like. Though he went on to record right up to the present day, the 50’s recordings are remarkably fresh, with his alto’s long fluid lines and swinging turns in direction. His alto has a refreshing lightness and his opening alto duet here with guitarist Billy Bauer on “Karys Trance” is a suprising sheer delight. Unusually, Konitz also picks up the tenor sax on several tracks for the first time, yeilding a record with an additional layer of interest.
Released in 1956 as US Atlantic 1258, “Inside Hi-fi” appears here in the shape of its UK first release in 1957 on the London American label (Crimson and Silver labels). Characteristically heavy vinyl and superb pressing quality.
The selling point for me, however, was the cover. For any audiophiles out there (yes you Guy! ) the artifice of Konitz, photographed through capacitors, valves and wires in Rudy Van Gelder’s recording studio, is the ultimate Jazz Audiophile image.
Considered part of the Konitz core collection, the auction of “Inside Hi-fi” attracted more interest than I expected, with rival bidding from Germany collectors – lots of “Musik” in their purchase history, and over-valued Euros. Not that I am bitter about this of course. However the battered British Pound prevailed, and this British release of an American recording remained in its “rightful place”, this side of the English Channel.
The 1957 original of Kary’s Trance can be contrasted with a contemporary video of Lee Konitz himself performing “Kary’s Trance” with Atilla Zoller and Wolfgang Lackerschmidt, which is very nice in its own right: