Palo is less Alto without Lee Konitz, 1927-2020

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Lee Konitz is not really from here, and his melody composition is as likely about New Jersey than here, but I want to note his passing.

Lee recorded a song “Palo Alto” in 1950.

I tried to get City Manager Jim Keene to have this recording go over the phone wires if you call City Hall and you are on hold. He wrote the words “Lee Konitz” in his notebook, but it goes on the long list of projects that so far have not come to fruition.

I believe he played Stanford a few years ago. Unclear if he ever played Palo Alto proper.

I read somewhere that “Palo Alto” is a contrafact of “Strike Up The Band”, based on the same structures.

I asked a couple musicians to record a custom version of this song, for that purpose.

There was a jazz group in Italy led by Danilo Gallo called Palo Alto that played his music.

edit to add, 3 minutes later:

Not to put the guy on the spot — he’s very busy and prolific and we’ve never met:

Hi, Jacob. (from July, 2011 — nearly nine years hence)

I am hoping to produce a performance or recording of “Palo Alto” by Lee Konitz. I could use a performer and or producer and or arranger, maybe you can help.
The performance (recording) would be submitted as a demo to Palo Alto City Manager James Keene along with a proposal for the City of Palo Alto to add the song or the performance to its cultural collection. Maybe the song or soundbyte could be used as “hold music” when people call City Hall. Or as a ringback.
I think producing a unique version there might be opportunity to simplify or alter the hook so that people hear the hook better. The melody is kinda subtle. I am wondering about like a :15 or a :30 edit plus an entire song.
I am thinking of the fact that I went to Gunn High School here and at football games, the band goes into Peter Gunn theme song after touchdowns. Just first few measures.
Or years ago, at 49ers game, a band (maybe it was Turk Murphy) would play first few measures of “San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gates” after touchdowns.
Or people easily identify the melody (but who knows the name of the composition) of “the Tonight Show” theme, just the first few bars.
I want all Palo Altans to know there is a song called “Palo Alto” by a man named Lee Konitz and I would like them to recognize that melody (or our proposed simplified or enhanced version of it).
I think doing a little session is better than re-mixing someone’s session, or editing a sample from someone’s catalog.
What might this cost?
Mark Weiss
concert promoter, artist manager
ran for Palo Alto City Council in 2009 on an arts platform (and lost)
Leah Garchik is somehow a big muse for me; I respond strongly to things she writes about. I occassionally contribute a printable item for her.
I offer locally a host of ideas for our cultural life here; some get adapted and developed, some don’t. I did mention this to our City Manager Jim Keene once who wrote “Konitz” in his notebook. I could always just check out from our library the relevant cd and drop it on his desk, but producing a small session seems more elegant.
Not sure how mechanical royalties work for such usages but certainly we would want composer credited and paid. And yes, I know that he may be thinking of a different “Palo Alto”
When I was (…..)’ manager he recorded a cd in Mike Brorby’s studio in Brooklyn — seems like the right kind of room for this, if its still there. Or a home set up could work, pro tools.
I could think of ten other “palo alto” related compositions if you wanted to go deeper into this. Jason Olaine the former Verve Producer and current Yoshi’s booker is from here; I have thought about producing “palo alto the jazz album” with him, maybe i mentioned it to him.
This one is from 2007: (and it says that Konitz played Stanford in 2007)

Hi Mark. Here I am, sorry for delay…

Thank you for writing me… Yes Palo Alto is a band , a quartet, italian one, we made 2 records,  the first was a tribute to the music of Lennie Tristano & Lee Konitz ( ) and the second “Crash Test” consists of original compositions  released by a german label ( )

The former band is a quartet with me on double bass, Nicola Fazzini on alto saxophone, Dario Volpi on guitar and Zeno De Rossi on drums… We made a lot of concerts all around Europe, both Tristano/Konitz project and our music…. We still exist, even if we do not so much as before, but it’s a band that I love it!!

It could be great to come there and perform in Palo Alto, this town ispired our name and many stories…
as soon as possible I send you cds.

thank you again, danilo

From: mark weiss <>
Subject: Palo Alto “crash test” lee konitz lennie tristano
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2007 11:56:54 -0700 (PDT)
Danilo Gallo
jazz musician
Venice Italia

Dear Mr. Gallo:

I am a jazz journalist, artist manager and concert
promoter in Palo Alto, California, USA.

I was happy to learn that there is a jazz group in
Italia named “Palo Alto”, si? It is a tribute to
Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz, si?

Please give me more information. Maybe I can help
arrange a tour or visit here to perform.

Mark Weiss
Earthwise Productions and Management
PO Box 60786
Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA

tel: 650.XXXXXXXXX

I am sorry I do not speak Italian.

Lee Konitz performs in Palo Alto on 4 Aug 2007


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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