LEWISBURG — Lee Konitz and Dan Tepfer will perform in concert Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Weis Center at Bucknell University. The concert, which is free and open to the public, is part of the University’s ongoing Jazz at Bucknell Series.
“We’re thrilled to open this year’s Jazz at Bucknell series with living legend Lee Konitz accompanied by the extraordinary pianist Dan Tepfer,” said Barry Long, assistant professor of music at Bucknell and series coordinator.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for our students and community to share in the creative legacy of a master who has remained at the forefront of modern jazz for more than 50 years.”
Alto saxophonist Konitz has enjoyed one of the most creative and prolific careers in modern jazz. After an early experience with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra (arranged by Gil Evans), Stan Kenton’s Orchestra, the innovative small groups of pianist Lennie Tristano, and the Miles Davis Birth of the Cool Nonet, Konitz began to lead hisown groups and has remained on the cutting edge of post-bop improvisation ever since.
His exceptionally large and varied discography includes an early unaccompanied saxophone solo album, several innovative albums of duets that spanned jazz styles, and collaborations which reads like the “who’s who” of the Jazz world. Konitz is the only still active musician to have played all three ever existing Birdland clubs in New York City. Voted “Alto Saxophonist of the Year” by Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll in 2010 and numerous times before that, Konitz received the NEA Jazz Masters Award in 2008.
Tepfer has made a name for himself as a pianist-composer of wide-ranging ambition, individuality and élan — “a remarkable musician” in the words of the Washington Post and one “who refuses to set himself limits” in those of France’s Télérama. The New York City-based Tepfer, born in 1982 in Paris to American parents, has performed with some of the leading lights in jazz, including extensively with veteran saxophone luminary Konitz.
As a leader, Tepfer has crafted a discography already striking for its breadth and depth, ranging from probing solo improvisation and intimate duets to trio albums rich in their melodic allure. His 2011 Sunnyside/Naïve album “Goldberg Variations / Variations” saw the prize-winning pianist performing J.S. Bach’s masterpiece as well as improvising upon it to “build a bridge across centuries and genres” as the Wall Street Journal put it.
Among his awards are the first prize and audience prize at the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition, first prize at the 2006 East Coast Jazz Festival Competition, and first prize at the 2007 competition of the American Pianists Association. Tepfer was voted a Best New Artist in JazzTimes in 2010 and a Rising Star in DownBeat in 2011.
The Jazz at Bucknell series presents international modern masters and young visionaries, showcasing the entire tradition of jazz, from standards to the avant-garde, with an eye on artists who continue the innovative tradition of the music with their personal approaches to sound, style and composition.
The fall concert series include John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet on Oct. 2; the Ece Goksu Quartet on Oct. 23; Jeremy Siskind’s “Finger-Songwriter” Project with Nancy Harms and Lucas Pino on Nov. 6, all to be held in Bucknell Hall. The Bucknell Jazz Christmas concert with Steve Rudolph and Friends will be held in the Weis Center lobby on Dec. 4.
The spring concert schedule includes the Kate McGarry Duo on Jan. 29; the Eastman Jazz Quartet on Feb. 26; the Matt Mitchell Trio with Chris Speed on March 5; and Jason Moran and the Bandwagon (co-sponsored with the Weis Center) on April 17.