Lee Konitz “Inside Hi-Fi” (1956)

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:


7 thoughts on “Lee Konitz “Inside Hi-Fi” (1956)

  1. I love the sound of the mono original (hearing your sample above)! Having only heard the stereo cd issue (VERY wide and suffering from the “hole in the middle” effect), I’m going to head back to the shop that’s got a mono Atlantic waiting for me!

    Thanks for your fantastic blog (first post from a lurker)!

  2. Pingback: Inside Hi-Fi Vol. 2 (1956) Lee Konitz | Mister.Marken

  3. Yeah, that’s the one! It’s very clean except one feelable scratch that ticks–ugh. Still a good copy and glad to have it.

    In the same group with the London Hi-Fi there were 2 more Konitz–“Very Cool” (Columbia UK), and “The Real Lee Konitz” (London).

    • Echo echo? Just picked up a copy of “The Real Lee Konitz” this afternoon. How’s that for timing? UK first release Crimson/Silver 1959 I think on London label. Its got the a few clicks and a small scratch that runs five or six revs, but cost only just over a tenner. Sounds a bit like a bootleg – home taped, I gather. Top-end definitely a bit dodgy, so I am glad I didn’t shell out too much for it.Two down, one to go.

      • I haven’t listened to it yet–got too much stuff around here. Seems to be the same release I have. After I dig into all of these, I’ll email you. I’d like to know about which UK/Europe releases are preferred.

  4. That’s a great record. I have a copy with the original black Atlantic label, and recently got an “import” (for me, anyway) copy just like that one! Just checked it out, deadwax is the same. I have several UK/Holland pressing new arrivals–I may email you for some info after I sort through them, never had any of these pressings before.

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