Full Potentiel

 R.I.P. Lee Konitz

The probability of being alive in this vast universe is nearly impossible when you think about it. And yet we are here, all of us, here and now. We were all born with certain abilities. Others would call that talent. Few of us become aware of our full potential at early age. As far as I am concerned, although I have always been very intuitive, I started to develop my skills in my late twenties. Three things became very clear at that point of my life, beauty, habits and music, of course. Music has always been very present.

I discovered jazz at around 1975. My first influences as an alto sax player were Phil Woods and Jackie McLean. I would listen to jazz day and night, mostly bebop at that time. I was first introduced to the music of Lee Konitz at the local record shop a year after. I saw this intriguing album titled Lone Lee and I wondered how an alto player I never heard of, could sound like when playing alone. To be honest, I didn’t understand at all. His sound was so unique and different. That’s it, these are the two things I didn’t fully comprehend at that time, unicity and difference.

We live in a chaotic world. Life is difficult, for all species. Always has been, always will be. Most of us look at the others suspiciously, with fear and ignorance rather than being open and receptive to one another. “Look how weird that is” when one sees something unique or different. Colour of skin, religions, borders, cultures and so forth becomes something to avoid at all cost. We are conditioned that way. Our parents, our schools, our governments even our closest friends have their opinions on everything. So, how is it possible to live a free and open life in this crazy world? When observing the work of artists, one can tell whether or not these artists are free or not. Lee Konitz is among these artists. Over time I realized the beauty of his playing, of his music, so full of imagination and grace.

I met Lee Konitz only once preceding his concert at the Montreal Jazz Festival on July 3, 2003. Prior to that – on June 29th – I had the opportunity to do a studio recording with drummer Michel Lambert, bassist Gary Peacock and pianist Paul Bley. On June 30th we were also scheduled for an evening at the Montreal Jazz Festival. These two days were memorable moments of music for Michel and me. After the concert Paul asked us if we were interested to meet Lee Konitz before their concerts at Monument National in Montreal. Of course, I instantly accepted the invitation. Three days after, with joy and spirit, Michel and I went backstage of the venue and Paul was already there, waiting for us. He rapidly introduced Lee to us and insisted I gave Lee my latest album, Compassion. I love this album very much. So I did give the CD to Lee. We talked for two or three minutes then he turned around and he threw the CD in the trash. At first I didn’t see him do that. I just noticed it once he was on the stage playing his first duet with pianist Jason Moran. On my way in the concert hall, I noticed the CD in the trash. Here is my point. The first few seconds, I found it weird for someone like Lee Konitz, a jazz legend, to do such an act. A few seconds after, I deliberately decided to laugh about it. Then I understood his gesture. Why? There is no WHY. He did that period. I am grateful to have had this brief experience with him which tells me a lot about the being, the artist.

From this day on, I started to dive deeper into his music.

I have a great deal of respect for artists who are able to be who they really are, no matter what people say. Lee Konitz, Steve Lacy, Jackie McLean, John Coltrane, Tony Williams, Monk and all the others, I will never miss you. Your music makes you alive forever.

François Carrier
Montreal, April 29, 2020

P.S.: Human behavior must change. Among other things, quantum physics is a science that recognizes consciousness is creating our life experiences.



この広大無辺の宇宙に生存していることの確率は考えるだに可能性はほとんどない。しかし、それでもなお僕らすべての人間はこの地に今、厳然と存在しているのである。僕らは誰しもある才能を持って生まれて来ている。人はそれを才能と呼ぶこともあろう。年端も行かない頃、自分の最大限の可能性に気付くことは稀である。こと自分に関して言えば、極めて直感力に優れていたとはいえ、自ら能力を開発し始めたのは20代の後期であった。我が人生で、その時点で極めて明らかになったことは3つのこと、すなわち、美、習慣(癖)、それにいわずもがな音楽であった。音楽は常に身の回りにあった。ジャズに目覚めたのは1975頃であった。アルトサックス奏者として最初に影響を受けたのはフィル・ウッズとジャッキー・マクリーンであった。日夜ジャズ漬けとなり、当時のことだからほとんどがビバップだった。1年ほど経って地元のレコード屋でリー・コニッツの音楽を紹介された。『Lone Lee』という変わったアルバムを手にした時、この未知のアルトサックス奏者がソロでどういう演奏をするのか興味を持った。告白すればまったく理解不能だった。彼の音楽はまったく唯一無二のものであった。そう、当時まったく理解できなかったのはふたつのこと、「唯一」で「無二」ということだった。
僕らは混沌とした世界に生きている。どの種にとっても生きていくことはたやすいことではない。かつてそうであったし、これからもそうであろう。僕らのほとんどは他者に胸襟を開き迎え入れる態勢ではなく恐れと無知を持って疑いの眼差しで見るものである。何か、唯一で無二のものを見る時は、「何だあのおかしなものは」という目になるものなのだ。何れにしても、皮膚の色、宗教、国境、文化などなどが障壁になるのだ。僕らはそもそもそのように条件づけられているのだ。両親、学校、政府、いや、近しい友人たちでさえすべてのことについてそれぞれ固有の意見を持っている。さて、この異様な世界で僕らはどのようにして自由で開放的な生活を送ることができるというのだろうか? アーティストの作品を見て、そのアーティストが自由であったか否かを見分けることはできるだろう。リー・コニッツはそのようなアーティストのひとりだったのだ。時が経って、僕は彼の演奏、音楽の美しさ、想像力と優美さに満ちたそれを理解するようになったのだった。



モントリオール 2020年4月 29日



, text by François Carrier  フランソワ・キャリリール