The Yoga & Yogurt Jazz Radio Show May 16, 2013

Connie Crothers — March 25, 2001 — Albuquerque — My old upright never sounded so good, she’s one of the greatest — in town for a gig at the Outpost Performance Space with her Quartet — photo by Mark Weber

The Yoga & Yogurt Jazz Radio Show

May 16, 2013 – Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER – KUNM Albuquerque, USA – 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web > – Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)


Playing fast for the sake of athleticism doesn’t cut it on the Thursday jazz show but playing fast because life is pumping pure blue skies through your joyous cranium, does. The earliest recorded version of “Kary’s Trance” dates from 1955* with Lee Konitz in quartet playing alto for the first half then after Billy Bauer’s guitar solo he comes in on tenor, quite a tour de force. There are 31 versions, by various artists, of “Kary’s Trance” listed at Tom Lord Discography and today on the Thursday jazz show we’re going to listen to a few of them, including the ferocious incendiary 1957 version with Lee throwing everything he has at it. “Kary’s Trance” is a contrafact, a line Lee wrote to the chords to the folky hit pop song of 1932 by Jack Lawrence “Play Fiddle Play,” that by the 1950s was going the rounds with New York jazzfolk, versions of “Play Fiddle Play” exist from that time by Roy Eldridge, Erroll Garner, Don Elliott, John LaPorta, Kenny Clarke, Marian McPartland, Charlie Byrd, and was a feature for Slam Stewart on JATP. So, it was in the air when Lee wrote this surging pulsing forceful line. George Russell analyses “Kary’s Trance” in his Lydian Chromatic Concepts book: ” . . . it is an example of what we call an ingoing vertical melody” (page 56 CONVERSATIONS ON THE IMPROVISER’S ART by Andy Hamilton).

*We’ll listen to the mono version that Mosaic records discover’d in the vaults that is a thousand-fold better mix than the Hi-Fi stereo version on Atlantic 1258 we all grew up with. (Great photo on the cover of this LP!)

I also found a meticulous corruscating curlicue duet version of “Kary’s Trance” by Lee Konitz & Sal Mosca I’d like you to hear from 1971. But first, I asked saxophonist Charley Krachy what his thoughts on the tune were, (I do not have a copy of Charley’s version at fingertips or we’d listen to that): “I don’t know too much about it other than it is based on the tune “Play Fiddle Play” and was composed by Lee as part of a lesson, I believe he was studying with Lennie. When I play it I feel it as having a “gypsie” feel to it . . . . sorry, I can’t be more specific, it’s not too hard to play.” (Email 5/13/2013 — Note: I had asked if it was a hard song to negotiate.)

Someday we’ll have to ask Lee about this trance his daughter Kary was in. Contrafacts were the order of the day on the bebop frontier. “What Is This Thing Called Love” provided chords and momentum for over a dozen bop platforms by Fats Navarro, Wardell Gray, Tadd Dameron, Charles Mingus, Lee Konitz, have all written lines on What Is This Thing, and one of the most beautiful and beautifully complex is by Connie Crothers known as “Ontology.” I want you to hear this tune recorded live at night on the Lower East Side inside The Stone in quartet in 2009.

We’ll also listen to music from these incredible musicians in the photos, there sure is a lot of interesting music in the world. (Thanks to Cal Haines and Klaus for doctoring up my photos, my little web page wouldn’t exist without their help.)

James Newton with the legendary Los Angeles woodwinds master William Green @ Watts Towers Jazz Festival — July 5, 1980 — photo by Mark Weber — James has moved back to New Mexico in the same neighborhood (Corrales) as Bobby & Lisa Shew, so I’ll spin a track from one of my favorite LPs of James’ not-yet-reissued on CD, the album LUELLA from 1983

That’s Dave Koonse on guitar, the father of Larry Koonse, and the guy in the middle is Gary Foster and this evening was the Gary Foster Quintet (sometimes with same musicians known as John Tirabasso Quintet), the other guy looks very familiar — November 1, 1978 @ The Raven & The Rose, Sierra Madre, California — photo by Mark Weber

Gary Foster & Lee Konitz @ Donte’s in North Hollywood — January 15, 1982 — photo by Mark Weber — Lee was sitting in with the Art Pepper Quartet for a couple sets warming up for their recording session three days later for Atlas Records

You can’t have a conference without a panel discussion! So, they had one: Dave MacKay, Billy Bauer, Ted Brown, Don Heckman (moderator) — Lee joined them post haste to talk about Lennie — May 28, 2004 — photo by Mark Weber with one of those $10 plastic disposable cameras, I went through a phase where I was exploring low production values, somewhat under the influence of Robert Frank

Kary Kaley & Ted Brown @ Springsville Conference, LAX Four-Points Sheridan Hotel, Los Angeles — May 28, 2004 — this was the day of conference that had special focus on Lennie Tristano — Kary came down from Montana to see her dad Lee Konitz and is the inspiration for Lee’s tune “Kary’s Trance,” she was wonderfully down-to-earth and easy to be around, so I visited with for awhile — photo by Mark Weber

Connie Crothers “Ontology” in the author’s own hand


  1. Mark Weber

    NOTE that the photo on LP cover of LEE KONITZ INSIDE HI-FI (Atlantic 1258) is by Lee Friedlander — it has Lee’s face peeking through a round window down in the middle of a bunch of 1950s electronics, presumably a record player, maybe a stereo.

  2. Rick DiZenzo

    I love the graphic look of quintuplets and septuplets,…it gets my panties in a bunch.

  3. Mark Weber

    I called Lee about an hour ago at his Manhattan apartment to ask him about “Kary’s Trance” —

    Firstly, I asked where the title came from, what was this trance your daughter was in? Lee said it was a “play on words for Kary’s Dance, but it was an unfortunate decision because Karen for years thought her father was commenting on her state of mind, it was just a play on words.”

    I asked if the composition was an assignment from Lennie Tristano and he said, “You know, Lennie would suggest things, because it’s good to explore a song a little more than just walking around humming the melody, do you know what I mean? As a way to familiarize yourself with a theme.”

    I said, “So, writing a new line over the chords gives you more insight into the tune?” Lee said, “Yes, exactly. So that you know the tune a little more than just off the top or your head. Do you know that expression: Off the top of your head?” [chuckling] I concurred that I did.

    I asked what version he had been hearing back then, was it the 1933 Ray Noble hit and he said “I have no idea where I heard it. I hear it as a Jewish melody [sings the melody to “Play Fiddle Play”] something like that, right?”

    I proposed that he might have wrote it around 1953 but he couldn’t remember — I said John LaPorta had a version on it, and Don Elliott, and Dizzy, and that in 1953 Roy Eldridge had it in his repertoire because an aircheck exists of him playing “Play Fiddle Play” and Lee said, “Well, there you go, that would probably have been what I could have heard, certainly.”

    I told him that Slam Stewart had a feature on it on Jazz at the Philharmonic and that reminded him of a recent version of “Kary’s Trance” he recorded with WDR Cologne Germany Radio Band arranged and conducted by Michael Abene that opens with a bass solo.

    I told him I was in audience at Donte’s when he sat in with Art Pepper and he had nice things to say about Art, even if Art’s approach in the 70s wasn’t a path he was interested in, saying, “Art had a certain lilt, and he could swing, and he played in the total spirit of improvising in the moment, he was good.”

    It was a good conversation with a very articulate gentleman, I don’t talk to him often, so, it was an honor. He apologized for his memory, saying the usual things we all say about age and memory, “I hope I’m not contaging,” more wordplay from the master (ie. contagious + aging) . . . . baadaboom.

  4. Mark Weber

    PS— Kary still lives in Missoula

  5. Carol Liebowitz

    kary’s trance etc

    Dear Mark,

    Kary’s Trance is one of my very favorite lines. When trying to find the music for Play Fiddle Play I came upon this story…

    Weird that two amazing lines (also love Ted’s “Jazz of Two Cities”!) are based on this obscure tune that hardly anyone plays or has even heard of.

    Loved the piece and the pix,

    xo c

    Hope to see you this summer!

  6. Mark Weber

    THE KARY’S TRANCE JAZZ radio show
    host: mark weber
    thursday may 16, 2o13
    1. Gary Foster Quartet “Tune for a Lyric”
    ———12jan69 album CRAND CRU CLASSE
    2. Lee Konitz Quintet “Kary’s Trance” 5may57
    3. Slam Stewart “Play Fiddle Play” 30jan45
    4. Warne Marsh-Lee Konitz Quintet 27dec75
    ———— “Kary’s Trance”
    5. Don Byas & Slam Stewart “I Got Rhythm” 9june45
    6. Kenny Clarke Klook’s Clique “Play Fiddle Play”
    ———–6feb56 w/ John LaPorta, alto
    7. Milt Jackson Quartet “Good Morning Heartache” 1997
    8. Lee Konitz-Sal Mosca duet “Kary’s Trance”
    ——–February 1971 — album SPIRITS
    9. Connie Crothers Quartet “Ontology” 26sept09
    10. James Newton “Anna Maria” 1983 Lp LUELLA
    11. Ted Brown-Warne Marsh Quintet “Jazz of Two Cities”

  7. Mark Weber

    When I had mentioned Slam Stewart & JATP Lee said, “How about those duets of Slam Stewart and Don Byas.” I said, “Oh yeh! Town Hall, 1945, released on Commodore” “Well, I wouldnt know about that [reference to his not remembering dates and details]. I heard it on the radio last week and it’s fantastic.”

    If you missed the broadcast you can still hear it via the KUNM 2-week archive.

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